Pandya leads Gujarat Titans to IPL summit after Rajasthan Royals romp - GulfToday

Pandya leads Gujarat Titans to IPL summit after Rajasthan Royals romp


Hardik Pandya celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Jimmy Neesham on Thursday. IPL Twitter photo

Skipper Hardik Pandya hit a blazing 87 to set up a comfortable 37-run victory for Gujarat Titans against Rajasthan Royals on Thursday, as his side replaced their opponents at the top of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Pandya smashed eight fours and four sixes in his unbeaten 52-ball knock to help the Titans score 192 for 4 after being put in to bat at the D.Y. Patil stadium in Navi Mumbai.

"Captaincy is fun and it allows me to take responsibility and be the flag-bearer,” Pandya said as he has pushed himself up in the order and batted at No. 4. "I am not used to batting this long, (but) it gives me a lot of time. I can calculate and take risk. The last game it did not come off but today I made sure I did.”

Pandya-manofthematch Hardik Pandya with his man of the match award during the ceremony. IPL

Rajasthan made only 155-9 in reply off 20 overs to hand Gujarat their fourth win in five games.

Gujarat are now two points clear of second-placed Kolkata Knight Riders, while Rajasthan slipped to third.

Rajasthan made a great start to their chase as opener Jos Buttler unleashed an array of shots during his 54-run blitz off just 24 balls.

But Lockie Ferguson (3-23) ended Buttler's knock with a searing yorker, and David Miller took a stunning catch to dismiss Ravichandran Ashwin (eight).

Buttler hit eight fours and three sixes during his entertaining innings, peppered with some stunning scoop shots.

Royals captain Sanju Samson said losing quick wickets cost his team. "If we would have had wickets in hand, this was chaseable.... We had the power and potential," he said.

Earlier, Gujarat made a shaky start, losing Matthew Wade, Vijay Shankar and Shubman Gill inside seven overs.

Wade was run out by Rassie van der Dussen, who made no mistake in hitting the stumps at the striker's end as the batters tried to steal a single.

Shankar edged a short and wide ball from Kuldeep Sen to be caught behind by Samson, while Gill fell to Riyan Parag.

Pandya went after the bowling attack, hitting Sen for three successive fours before smashing a six off Parag. He raced to his half-century in just 33 deliveries before hammering off-spinner Ashwin for successive sixes.

Abhinav Manohar also played an attacking innings, hitting four fours and two sixes in his 43.

Titans skipper Pandya shared 86 for the fourth wicket with Manohar, and Miller scored a fine 31 not out off 14 balls to ensure a big total on the board.


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