Spin dominates as GT edge PBKS

Although it was a home game for Punjab Kings (PBKS), they failed to read the conditions. Gujarat Titans (GT) assessed the pitch well, opting to play an extra spinner, and that proved to be a match-turning decision. Three GT spinners bagged seven wickets between them, restricting PBKS to 142. With the home side playing just one frontline spinner in Harpreet Brar, it was never going to be enough. PBKS still tried to make a game of it, but once again, Rahul Tewatia stood in their way and ensured that the home side didn’t run away with a win.

PBKS middle-order falters again

At the halfway stage, Punjab Kings found themselves below par and failed to justify Sam Curran’s decision to bat first. Although they started well with only their second 50-plus opening stand of the season, their momentum waned when Prabhsimran Singh got out attempting a big shot. The spinners then tightened their grip after the Powerplay. Despite efforts from players like Rilee Rossouw, Liam Livingstone, Shashank Singh and Ashutosh Sharma, who all fell cheaply, only Jitesh Sharma managed to reach double-figures in the middle order. However, his stay was short-lived as he fell to Sai Kishore’s bowling. Punjab Kings managed to cross the 140-mark, largely thanks to a cameo from Harpreet Brar, the spin-bowling all-rounder, who struck a few boundaries to boost their total. However, the other Harpreet (Singh) struggled, wasting Punjab’s impact sub card.

GT spin trio dominate

The pitch proved to be sluggish, offering assistance to the spinners and Gujarat Titans fielded three quality spin bowlers. Their spin attack displayed a diverse range of options, which proved fruitful for them. In the first innings, seven wickets fell to spin, marking the highest number of spin-induced dismissals in an innings this season. This surpassed Delhi Capitals’ record of 5/125 from 10 overs against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the previous match. It also set a new record for Gujarat Titans, surpassing their previous best of 6/31 from 5.5 overs, achieved by Rashid Khan and R Sai Kishore against Lucknow Super Giants in Pune in 2022. The spinners collectively bowled 13 overs, claiming 7/75, with Sai Kishore being the standout performer with a four-wicket haul. Rashid Khan also delivered a tidy spell, maintaining control during his four overs. Noor Ahmad provided excellent support with his left-arm wrist-spin.

The spin trio dismantled Punjab Kings’ batting line-up, particularly after the Powerplay. The 13 overs of spin bowled in the innings marked the highest tally for a team this season and equalled Gujarat Titans’ record in the IPL. Rashid, Noor, Jayant Yadav, and Tewatia had previously returned figures of 3/85 from 13 overs against Lucknow Super Giants in Lucknow last year.

Arshdeep back in rhythm

Arshdeep hasn’t quite hit his peak form with the ball this season. While he has shown glimpses of his ability to move the ball early on in matches, it hasn’t been consistent enough to yield wickets. Moreover, he has lacked the threat factor throughout this season. However, with half the season still to go, there’s ample opportunity for Arshdeep to turn things around, and it seems the process has already begun. He bowled just two overs but conceded only 13 runs while taking the wicket of Wriddhiman Saha. The left-arm pacer maintained a tight line, restricting scoring opportunities for the Gujarat Titans’ openers and eventually reaped the rewards.

Tewatia applies finishing touches

In response, the GT batters went with a steady approach during the Powerplay, scoring 44 runs with the loss of one wicket. Livingstone spearheaded the spin attack for PBKS with an exceptional spell of 2/19. After his spell concluded, Sai Sudharsan appeared poised to steer the chase single-handedly until Curran dismissed him with a well-directed length ball, complicating the task for the visitors.

The Titans stumbled from 77/1 to 103/4. With 38 runs required off four overs, the game hung in the balance. It was then that Tewatia decided to work his magic. He struck a couple of boundaries against Brar, and Kagiso Rabada conceded 20 runs in the 18th over, dashing Punjab’s hopes. Tewatia’s quickfire 36-run knock helped his team seal the victory with five balls to spare. There’s always one player who seems to stand firm between PBKS and victory, and that’s Tewatia. He did it first in 2020 and continues to do so effortlessly.