Gujarat Titans became the first team to qualify for the IPL 2022 playoffs after their bowlers, led by Rashid Khan’s 4-24, made light work of the Lucknow Super Giants’ 144-run defense.
Why could Gujarat get only 144?
Because of the bowler-friendly conditions in Pune. This pitch, too, allowed bowlers to get some grip early on and proved difficult for stroke-making. Hardik Pandya’s decision to bat first threatened to unravel before against Lucknow’s rounded pace attack.
What did the pacers do?
All of Luck now’s pacers found some purchase early in the innings, sticking mostly to back-of-the-length deliveries and mixing in some cutters. So much so that Gujarat was restricted to 35 runs in the power play despite losing two wickets. Wriddhiman Saha was out to a checked drive that looped to mid-on, a ball after a similar shot had resulted in the ball falling short against Mosh in Khan.
Making a comeback, Matthew Wade hit back-to-back boundaries against Dushmantha Chameera before falling pulling a short ball from Avesh Khan. Skipper Hardik Pandya and a steady Shubman Gill temporarily stopped the slide. However, after going 12 balls without a boundary, Hardik slashed at a short and wide one from Avesh but ended up nicking behind, leaving Gujarat at 51/3.
How did they recover?
Gill brought in some caution because of the pitch and the bowling. As Gujarat steadily rebuilt, he and the watchful David Miller put on a 52-run stand off 41 balls. The duo was cautious in their ball selection, but they kept the scoreboard ticking.
Gill reached fifty in 42 balls and immediately upped the ante with several well-executed boundaries against Chameera. Rahul Tewatia, who had survived a couple of close calls, was undone in the final over by Jason Holder’s slower balls outside off. Tewatia hit three boundaries in the over, providing a late boost to the innings.
What went wrong for Lucknow in the chase?
Mohammed Shami’s fantastic bowling against the openers got things started. He applied early pressure, allowing only four runs in his first two overs. Quinton de Kock slashed a wide one from Yash Dayal straight to the point as a result of the pressure.
Shami then followed it up with a short ball that got big on KL Rahul and had him top-edging a pull. Despite conceding a few boundaries, Dayal added another scalp with Karan Sharma slashing to gully. Lucknow’s chase was hampered early on by three quick wickets in the powerplay. And it continued to descend.
Lucknow lost wickets in every way possible against Rashid Khan and R Sai Kishore, the spinners. Ayush Badoni and Krunal Pandya were both completely done in and stumped by a long shot. In the interim, Marcus Stoinis was involved in a terrible mix-up that resulted in a run out for 2.
A big leg-break caught Jason Holder in front, while Deepak Hooda and Mosh in Khan were taken down by ugly swipes. Lucknow lost their last seven wickets for 37 runs in six overs, handing table-toppers Gujarat another massive win.