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Hardik Pandya and Lockie Ferguson star as Gujarat Titans beat Rajasthan to take the top spot in the table

Hardik Pandya hit an unbeaten 87, while Lockie Ferguson and Yash Dayal each took three wickets as Gujarat Titans defeated Rajasthan Royals to take the lead in the points table.

Hardik Pandya and Lockie Ferguson star as Gujarat Titans beat Rajasthan to take the top spot in the table

Gujarat came out on top in the end, easily and convincingly! They’ve done well to get over the finish line here after losing their previous game, and with this win, they’ve climbed to the top of the points table. Rajasthan, on the other side, has dropped their second match of the competition.

Hardik Pandya and Lockie Ferguson star as Gujarat Titans beat Rajasthan to take the top spot in the table
Photo Credit: Twitter/#GTvsRR

Gujarat Titans won the Indian Premier League match by 37 runs on Thursday, with skipper Hardik Pandya boosting his reputation as a number four batter with an unbeaten 87 off 52 balls.

Hardik Pandya and Lockie Ferguson star as Gujarat Titans beat Rajasthan to take the top spot in the table
Photo Credit: Twitter/#GTvsRR

Hardik, whose strike rate and approach at his new position have been questioned, played conservatively when it was needed before flashing his power to lead the Titans to 192 for four.

Hardik Pandya and Lockie Ferguson star as Gujarat Titans beat Rajasthan to take the top spot in the table
Photo Credit: Twitter/#GTvsRR

Against a good bowling attack, chasing down a target of over 190 runs was never going to be simple. But, based on how they started the innings, it appeared that we were in for a thrilling chase! From the start, Jos Buttler was on fire.

Hardik Pandya and Lockie Ferguson star as Gujarat Titans beat Rajasthan to take the top spot in the table
Photo Credit: Twitter/#GTvsRR

In just 23 balls, he reached 50 and led Rajasthan to a score of 65 at the end of the Powerplay! However, they lost three wickets in the Powerplay, including Jos Buttler, and it proved to be the game’s turning moment. From that point on, runs had dried up and wickets had begun to fall.

Hardik Pandya and Lockie Ferguson star as Gujarat Titans beat Rajasthan to take the top spot in the table
Photo Credit: Twitter/#GTvsRR

Other than Jos, no other batter found his mojo in the middle, and as a result, they were unable to pursue the target.

Hardik Pandya and Lockie Ferguson star as Gujarat Titans beat Rajasthan to take the top spot in the table
Photo Credit: Twitter/#GTvsRR

Ferguson also removed Ravichandran Ashwin, the senior Indian spinner, in the same over after he was promoted to bat at number three. Shimron Hetmyer made another significant contribution to the Royals’ innings (29 off 17).

Hardik Pandya and Lockie Ferguson star as Gujarat Titans beat Rajasthan to take the top spot in the table
Photo Credit: Twitter/#GTvsRR

The Royals went from a 56-to-one lead to a 90-to-five deficit, from which they were unable to recover. Hardik, who has been bowling regularly this season, also took a wicket, although he retired from the attack in the 18th over after experiencing some groyne discomfort.

Hardik Pandya and Lockie Ferguson star as Gujarat Titans beat Rajasthan to take the top spot in the table
Photo Credit: Twitter/#GTvsRR

The Titans knocked the Royals off the top of the points table with their fourth win in five games. The Royals have now dropped two straight games. Hardik had already found a terrifically in Abhinav Manohar before exploding with David Miller (31 not out off 14). (43 off 28).

Before the skipper and Miller hammered 53 off 25 balls to close the innings in style, Hardik and Manohar had an 86-run stand for the fourth wicket. Gujarat was put in to bat and soon found themselves at 53 for three.

 Manohar hit four fours and two maximums in his 52-ball innings, while Hardik hit eight fours and four sixes. Miller scored 21 runs in the penultimate over off Kuldeep Sen (1/51) with five boundaries and a six.

Hardik was aggressive early on against pacer Kuldeep, hammering him for three consecutive boundaries in the fifth over.

Hardik Pandya and Lockie Ferguson star as Gujarat Titans beat Rajasthan to take the top spot in the table
Photo Credit: Twitter/#GTvsRR

When he clobbered Riyan Parag over his head in the seventh over, he got his first maximum. Manohar launched at Yuzvendra Chahal, hitting him for a four and maximum, a lofted inside-out drive over cover, upping the ante.

Hardik Pandya and Lockie Ferguson star as Gujarat Titans beat Rajasthan to take the top spot in the table
Photo Credit: Twitter/#GTvsRR

The two then went for Kuldeep, thrashing him for three boundaries in the 14th over, where Hardik also got his fifty with a cut towards the backward point boundary.

Hardik Pandya and Lockie Ferguson star as Gujarat Titans beat Rajasthan to take the top spot in the table
Photo Credit: Twitter/#GTvsRR

In the next over, Hardik smashed two consecutive maximums off veteran spinner Ashwin, who had given up 16 runs in the previous over.

Hardik Pandya and Lockie Ferguson star as Gujarat Titans beat Rajasthan to take the top spot in the table
Photo Credit: Twitter/#GTvsRR

The stage was set for a massive total when the Titans reached 130 for three in 15 overs. Miller ably backed the skipper when Manohar left. The Titans lost starter Matthew Wade (12) to a direct hit from cover by Rassie Van Der Dussen.

Titans fell to 15/2 after Vijay Shakar (2) was caught at the long-on fence by Shimron Hetymyer, and then a rusty-looking Shubman Gill (13) became Parag’s first victim after he was caught by Shimron Hetymyer. Trent Boult, the Royals’ leading bowler, was ruled out owing to a niggle and did not play.

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Hardik Pandya and Lockie Ferguson star as Gujarat Titans beat Rajasthan to take the top spot in the table
Photo Credit: Twitter/#GTvsRR

Hence Gujarat Titans defeated Rajasthan Royals to take the lead in the points table, thanks to Hardik Pandya’s unbeaten 87 and three wickets each from Lockie Ferguson and Yash Dayal. Despite Jos Buttler’s quickfire half-century, Rajasthan Royals lost regular wickets with their risk-taking attitude against Gujarat Titans in a 193 chase at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai.

Source: Hindustan Times

Written By

Soumyajit Dutta is a Cricket News Analyst and Author at Empire Weekly.

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