Wriddhiman Saha’s solid 67 not out after a top-class bowling performance set up Gujarat Titans seven-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings in the IPL here on Sunday, securing a top-two finish in the team standings. Gujarat bowlers put up a clinical show to restrict CSK to a below-par 133/5 despite a fine half-century by Ruturaj Gaikwad.
Saha, who struck eight boundaries and a six in his 57-ball knock, anchored the chase nicely to get Gujarat home in 19.1 overs.
While CSK were already out of the play-off race, the win for Gujarat guarantees them a top-two finish on the points table in their debut season, providing them with two opportunities to reach the final. Saha first added 59 runs in just 7.1 overs with Shubman Gill (18; 3×4) to lay the foundation of the win.
CSK tried to make a mini comeback by grabbing two quick wickets in the middle overs but it was too little and too late. Saha, who was dropped by Ruturaj on 21, went hammer and tongs as he pummelled a listless CSK attack in the power-play.
The wicket keeper-batter made his intent clear by striking three boundaries in the opening over off Mukesh Choudhary (0/28) and then played shots at will, including his only six in the fifth over.
However, CSK debutant pacer Matheesha Pathirana (2/24) trapped Gill in the front of the wickets in the eight over. Hardik Pandya (7) became Pathirana’s second victim as Gujarat slipped to 100/3. But with no run-rate pressure, David Miller (15 not out off 20 balls; 1×4) and Saha completed the chase without any hiccups.
Earlier, CSK lost opener Dewon Conway (5) in the third over as Mohammed Shami (2/19) gave Gujarat the first breakthrough. Shamis angled delivery from round the wicket moved away after pitching which Conway nicked it to wicket-keeper Wridhimman Saha.
Gaikwad (53 off 49 balls) first forged a 57-run second wicket stand off 39 balls with Moeen Ali (21 off 17; 2×6) and then added another 48-runs with Narayan Jagadeesan, who also struck an unbeaten 39 off 33 balls, for the third wicket.
CSK however suffered a middle-order collapse and could add only 24 runs in the last five overs.
Gaikwad, who hit four boundaries and a six, initially played with caution, as CSK crawled to 15/1 after four overs, as Hardik Pandya (0/8) and Shami did not give them a chance to free their arms.
Gaikwad then upped the ante in the fifth over, in which Yash Dayal leaked 15 runs. The right-handed batter was brutal on Dayal hammering him for two boundaries and a six over fine-leg.
In the next over, Moeen smashed two successive sixes off leg-spinner Rashid Khan (1/31), a pull and a sweep shot, as CSK added 17 runs of the sixth over and raced to 47/1 after the power-play. Gaikwad played the odd shot even as he and Ali completed the 50-run stand for the second wicket in just 32 balls.
When it looked like the duo would score big, it was left-arm spinner R Sai Kishore (1/31), who broke the stand by removing Ali, who gave a sitter to Rashid Khan at deep-mid-wicket, in the ninth over. Jagadeesan started with a boundary, but the fall of wicket stemmed the flow of runs.
After 13 overs, CSK at 90/2, were set for a big-score.
Jagadeesan then launched into Sai Kishore (1/31), hitting him for a boundary and a maximum in the 15th over, where CSK amassed 13 runs. But Gujarat pegged back CSK by removing Gaikwad, who was caught at deep mid-wicket and Shivam Dube (0) in quick succession as they slipped to 114/4. (Agencies)