IPL 2022: Kagiso Rabada and Shikhar Dhawan starred as Punjab Kings beat Gujarat Titans by eight wickets to keep alive their hopes of reaching the knockout stages.
Shikhar Dhawan struck a fine half-century as error-prone Punjab Kings finally produced a clinical performance to beat Gujarat Titans by eight wickets and end the IPL table leaders’ five-match winning streak here on Tuesday. Pacer Kagiso Rabada snared four wickets as Punjab Kings restricted formidable Gujarat Titans to a below-par 143 for eight after Hardik Pandya opted to bat first. Punjab, who made a mess of what should have been a straightforward chase in their last game, learned from their mistakes to pace the innings much better and overcome the target in 16 overs.
Dhawan (62 not out off 53 balls) scored his third half-century of the season and got good support from Sri Lankan Bhanuka Rajapaksa (40 off 28), who entertained with five fours and a six.
As one of the senior batters in the team, Dhawan took the responsibility of finishing the game for his team and he did that with elan.
Skipper Mayank Agarwal dropped himself down the order to accommodate Jonny Bairstow (1) at the top of the order but the move did not work.
However, the 87-run stand between the left-handers, Dhawan and Rajapaksa, ensured Punjab got home comfortably.
Liam Livingstone (30 not out off 10) displayed some brutal hitting towards the end of the chase and smashed premier India pacer Mohammad Shami for four sixes including a monstrous 117m hit over deep square leg. The 16th over going for 30 runs also gave a big boost to PBKS’ net run rate.
It was a much-needed win for Punjab, who have struggled for consistency this season with five wins and as many losses.
For Gujarat, who are set to make the play-offs, it was a timely wake-up call to fix their batting issues, especially at the top of the order. They have had somebody or the other to bail them out of tough situations but it was not the case on Tuesday.
Earlier, Sai Sudharsan’s unbeaten 65 off 50 balls was the saving grace in Gujarat’s innings as Punjab bowlers conceded only 11 fours and two sixes.