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Match Report – GT vs CSK 59th Match, May 10, 2024


Gujarat Titans 231 for 3 (Gill 104, Sai Sudharsan 103, Deshpande 2-33) beat Chennai Super Kings 196 for 8 (Mitchell 63, Moeen 56, Mohit 3-31, Rashid 2-38) by 35 runs

Shubman Gill and B Sai Sudharsan ripped up the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) attack and the record books to keep Gujarat Titans’ (GT’s) playoff hopes just alive. The result, however, punctured CSK’s chances and left them facing a tricky route to the playoffs.

Next up, CSK face a super-quick turnaround: they will meet Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Sunday afternoon at Chepauk. They will then run into a resurgent Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) in their last league fixture, in Bengaluru, on May 18. The defeat to GT means their qualification for the playoffs might come down to net run-rates – CSK, though, still have the best NRR among the three teams with 12 points – and one more defeat could leave the defending champions teetering on the brink.

GT captain Gill spent some time off the field in their successful defence of 231 because of cramps. But he had already handsomely contributed with the bat in a 210-run partnership with Sai Sudharsan – the joint-highest opening stand in the history of the IPL. Along the way, Gill and Sudharsan pushed the IPL century count past 100.

The Gill-Sudharsan opening salvo

Gill and Sudharsan are no Travishek. They are more orthodox top-order batters. But on a bouncy, red-soil Ahmedabad pitch on Friday, they showed that they can be just as destructive with their hitting.

It was Gill who made the early running when he took left-arm fingerspinner Mitchell Santner for a four and a six in a 14-run opening over. Then, in the final over of the powerplay, Gill played what was arguably the shot of the day. When Simarjeet Singh bowled a blameless back-of-a-length delivery on off, Gill used his gifts to make it look like a bad ball and imperiously swatted it over mid-on for six.

Sudharsan, becalmed in the early exchanges, then caught fire, whacking Ravindra Jadeja for 21 off seven balls at a strike rate of 300. The presence of the spin-hitting Sudharsan meant Jadeja could not bowl more than two overs on the night. Ruturaj Gaikwad turned to Daryl Mitchell‘s cutters, but he was dispatched for 4-0-52-0.

Sudharsan accelerated so quickly that he and his captain had identical scores at the end of the 16th over: 96 off 48 balls. Gill was the first to bring up his hundred with a four, and four balls later, Sudharsan joined him there with a six.

Deshpande, Thakur limit damage at the death

In the next over, however, Tushar Deshpande had both Sudharsan and Gill holing out in the space of five balls.

Deshpande could have cut short Gill’s innings on 72 had he not dropped him at the long-off boundary – he ended up parrying it onto the rope for six. But he came back strong at the death with his defensive skills on show, with Shardul Thakur for company.

They kept hiding the ball away from the swinging arcs of the GT batters and allowed them to score only 41 runs off the last five overs. Only one boundary was scored off the last three overs, but the chase was always going to be a tall order for CSK.

CSK fail to maximise the powerplay

It became even more difficult for CSK when they were reduced to 2 for 2 within two overs. Rachin Ravindra, who was brought back into the team to beef up the top order, was run out for 1. On the very next ball, Sandeep Warrier bested Ajinkya Rahane in the battle of the Impact Players. Rahane fell for one off five balls.

Captain Ruturaj Gaikwad, who had slid down to No. 3, then picked out one of the only two men on the boundary, off Umesh Yadav for a duck. The early strikes prevented CSK from taking more risks and they managed only 43 for 3 in the powerplay.

Mitchell, Moeen turn up the tempo

Daryl Mitchell then gave the chase a leg-up by repeatedly pumping the ball over the top. He even went after GT’s ace spinner Rashid Khan, taking him for 18 off seven balls.

At the other end, Moeen struggled to pick Rashid’s variations but he lined up Noor Ahmad, the left-arm wristspinner, and walloped him for three successive sixes to start the 11th over.

Mohit closes it out for GT

At 119 for 3 in 12 overs, CSK were in with a chance until Mohit Sharma’s intervention. Mohit struck with his second ball, a well-disguised knuckle ball, which tricked Mitchell into skying a catch to long-off for 63 off 34 balls. In his next over, he dug an on-pace delivery into the surface and had Moeen holing out for 56 off 36 balls.

Mohit also snagged Shivam Dube for 21 off 13 balls and came away with 3 for 31 – the best figures on the day.

When GT and CSK last met at this venue, in a three-day IPL final last season, Mohit couldn’t get the job done. On Friday, his execution was so good that CSK fell well short, despite MS Dhoni’s cameo at the end.

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



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