IPL 2022: Shami and Tewatia shine as Gujarat beats Lucknow in battle of debutants

With five overs remaining, Gujarat Titans needed 68. The next 12 balls yielded three sixes and as many fours as Rahul Tewatia and David Miller couldn’t believe their luck.

Published: 29th March 2022 12:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th March 2022 04:27 PM   |  A+A-

Mohammad Shami of Gujarat Titans celebrating the wicket of Manish Pandey of Lucknow Super Giants during the fourth T20 cricket match of the Indian Premier League 2022. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: KL Rahul has been in these kind of situations previously. While he’s obviously a good batter, his captaincy skills can be found wanting. In 2020 captaining Punjab Kings, he infamously tossed the ball to K Gowtham in the 20th over with Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya waiting. They predictably feasted.

At the Wankhede stadium on Monday, Rahul once again showed his weakness. Avesh Khan, last year’s second highest wicket-taker, and Dushmantha Chameera, Sri Lanka’s express quick who rocked Gujarat Titans’ top-order with two wickets in his opening spell, had two overs each to bowl. Lucknow Super Giants had already bowled 15 overs so it was simple maths. Bowl out your two quicks with Mohsin Khan to bowl the other. With a very wet ball, the last thing you want is hand the ball to somebody like Deepak Hooda or Ravi Bishnoi.

With lots of dew on the ground, spinners were already facing problems gripping the ball. But Rahul, bizarrely, decided to opt for Hooda to bowl the 15th and he followed that act by throwing the ball to leg-spinner Bishnoi in the 16th. That act of self sabotage, in the end, cost Lucknow a debut victory.

With five overs remaining, Gujarat Titans needed 68. The next 12 balls yielded three sixes and as many fours as Rahul Tewatia and David Miller couldn’t believe their luck. Both spinners were having problems in gripping the ball so they landed it in the swinging arc of both batters.

By the time Avesh was back, the equation was 28 off 18 thanks to two overs of mayhem. In the end, the duo, and a nerveless, unbeaten  cameo from the young Abhinav Manohar (15 from seven) took Gujarat home with two balls remaining. Credit must also go to Hardik Pandya too who gave the initial thrust with a flurry of boundaries through the leg-side after walking in at No 4. That he also bowled his full quota of four overs suggests he’s approaching full fitness.

Earlier, Gujarat, who opted to field first, reduced Lucknow to a barely believable 29/4 thanks to a fiery spell of bowling from Mohammed Shami. Bowling that Test match length, he challenged both edges as well as brought all three stumps in play. What was superb about Shami’s incisive three-over burst (a wicket in each over, 13 dots and one boundary) was he made every ball a standalone event.

His very first ball accounted for KL Rahul. The Lucknow Super Giants skipper tried to leave the ball with that unique stance of his but the ball just about kissed his outside edge and Matthew Wade completed a regulation catch.

In the next over, Quinton de Kock lost his middle peg as an in-swinger easily found the gap between bat and pad. In his third, he produced a gem that ought to be in a cricketing museum. It pitched on a good length area, beat the inside edge of Manish Pandey’s uncertain blade before gently removing the off bail. Credit must also go to Pandya for bowling Shami for one more over because there could have been a tendency to keep two of his overs for the end (in his previous franchise, Punjab Kings, Shami has almost always been used as a 2-2 bowler). Not on Monday.

The young Ayush Badoni (54 off 41) and the versatile Hooda (55 off 41) took Lucknow to 158. In the end, though, the damage had already been done.

Brief scores: LSG 158/6 in 20 ovs (Hooda 55, Badoni 54, Shami 3/25) vs GT 161/5 in 19.4 ovs (Tewatia 40 n.o, Hardik 33, Chameera 3/22).


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