IPL 2023 | Twitter in disbelief as KL Rahul's sluggish 68 costs LSG 7-run defeat in chase of 136 against GT

IPL 2023 | Twitter in disbelief as KL Rahul's sluggish 68 costs LSG 7-run defeat in chase of 136 against GT

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Haridk Pandya and Noor Ahmad played starring roles in Gujarat's narrow victory



Gujarat Titans put up a bowling performance for the ages at the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow on Saturday evening as they restricted the Lucknow Super Giants to 127 in a tight run chase. LSG looked well set for victory at one stage in the second innings but no batter managed to find the finish.

The first match of an action-filled weekend in the IPL ended up being a classic between the two newest teams in the tournament as Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants served up a low-scoring thriller at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium. The visitors won the toss and opted to bat first only to end up with a  total of 135/6 which seemed to be subpar at the halfway stage. However, their bowlers backed up the performance with a clinical display on a slow and sluggish pitch, eventually eking out victory with some efficient bowling at the death.

Gujarat Titans suffered an early setback as star opener Shubman Gill succumbed for a duck to Krunal Pandya in the second over itself. Wriddhiman Saha on the other end was the only batter who seemed to find his footing as he scored a season-high 47 off 37 deliveries, putting up an impressive 68-run stand alongside skipper Hardik Pandya off 55 balls. However, once the wicket-keeper departed, all ensuing batters found it difficult to get going with even Proteas stalwart David Miller managing just six runs off his 12 deliveries. Both Krunal and Marcus Stoinis stifled the visitors all ends up, scalping two wickets each, but a late outburst from Hardik saved the team the blushes as he ended on 66 off 50 deliveries.

In response, KL Rahul and Kyle Mayers perfectly set the stage for a dominant victory with a 55-run stand in 6.3 overs. Yet, once the latter fell victim to Rashid Khan's brilliance, it was a struggle for the hosts out in the middle albeit Krunal's run-a-ball 23 seemed to be enough to set up the win. However, skipper Rahul seemed to have no impetus at all as he scored just 18 runs off his last 23 balls while wickets kept falling at the other end. With all hopes pinned on him for the victory, the batter departed on the second ball of the last over for 68 from 61 balls. The next three balls all featured wickets, including two run-outs, in a clinical display by Mohit Sharma who ended with two scalps to his name. Noor Ahmad was the other star bowler with figures of 4-0-16-2, their efforts enough to secure Gujarat Titans a famous victory.

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