IPL 2023: Gujarat Titans pacers bounce out frightened Delhi Capitals batters to script six-wicket win

Delhi Capitals handed debut to Bengal's 20-year-old wicketkeeper-batter Abhishek Porel, while Anrich Nortje replaced Rovman Powell.
Gujarat Titans batter Sai Sudharsan during the IPL 2023 cricket match between Delhi Capitals and Gujarat Titans. (Photo | PTI)
Gujarat Titans batter Sai Sudharsan during the IPL 2023 cricket match between Delhi Capitals and Gujarat Titans. (Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI:  The inept technique of young Indian batters against top quality fast bowling compounded Delhi Capitals' worries as they succumbed to an embarrassing six-wicket defeat at the hands of defending champions Gujarat Titans in an IPL match here on Tuesday.

Mohammed Shami (3/41 in 4 overs) and Alzarri Joseph (2/29 in 4 overs) intimidated the Delhi top-order in the first 10 overs while Rashid Khan (3/31 in 4 overs) hardly faced any trouble keeping the batters under check to restrict the home team to a below-par 162 for 8.

Despite Anrich Nortje (2/39 in 4 overs)'s best efforts, young Sai Sudharsan (62 not out off 48 balls) anchored the chase calmly with Titans winning their second successive game in 18.1 overs.

David Miller's (31 not out off 16 balls) two sixes and four off Mukesh Kumar in the 16th over towards the end sealed DC's fate decisively.

Axar Patel (36 off 22) was DC's saving grace with bat but since left-handers were batting, David Warner couldn't give him a single over as the match-up wasn't compatible.

DC have now lost two matches on the trot and while it is early days in the tournament, it will be surprising if this team, with the kind of Indian talent it has, finishes in top five let alone be a title contender.

The cupboard in terms both Indian batting and bowling talent looks bare and inadequate while competing with the best in the business.

Had Axar not used his long handle to good effect, even 150 would have looked a distant reality for DC.

Just a month after Kotla produced a turner for the Test against Australia, the change in nature of the track was palpable as the balls literally flew off the surface.

At times, it felt that it wasn't David Warner (37 off 32 balls) or a Sarafaraz Khan's (30 off 33 balls) bat that hit the ball but the other way round.

Shami literally beat Warner's bat for fun in his first two overs, often cutting him into half while Alzarri twice forced umpires to call for concussion checks as Sarfaraz and Abhishek Porel (20 off 11 balls) were hit on the head by well-directed bouncers.

To be fair, both looked dazed. Even an international like Rilee Rossouw (0) got a Test match like bouncer first up and was snapped brilliantly at backward point by a diving Rahul Tewatia.

Not being able to avoid the short ball was more due to lack of technique and not regularly facing bowlers of Shami or Alzarri's quality became their undoing.

Sarfaraz, a heavy-duty scorer in domestic cricket, couldn't improvise as he found the pace too quick to manoeuvre or improvise his shot selection.

The first two games in IPL against international bowlers is a proof that why former chairman Chetan Sharma's committee or even the current quartet of selectors are wary of picking him for international assignments.

A good domestic player, who is out-of-depth against top-grade bowlers. And it's not Sarfaraz alone.

Even Prithvi Shaw isn't inspiring confidence while facing a bowler of Shami's calibre.

Shaw's (7) inept technique against fast rising deliveries was once again exposed by the seasoned Shami, who pitched one back of length at a fair pace.

The delivery kept climbing on Shaw as he top-edged a pull-shot that was gleefully accepted by Alazarri at mid-on.

Mitchell Marsh was bowled for the second time, this time played on off Shami's bowling as skipper Hardik Pandya very wisely gave him a third over within the Powerplay and the job was done.

Skipper Warner, who literally played and missed during the first few overs, still used experience to ride on the pace ad bounce before Alzarri got rid of him.

While Gujarat chased, Nortje boled Wriddhiman Saha with a lethal off-cutter and another fast delivery that moved enough to knock back Shubman Gill's off-stump.

DC had some hope when Khaleel Ahmed had Hardik Pandya caught behind but Sudharsan and Vijay Shankar (29) added 53 off 7.2 overs to keep the chase on track.

Miller then added finishing touches.

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