Shubman, Sai keep GT’s playoff hopes alive with 35-run win over CSK

NEW DELHI: Captain Shubman Gill blasted a scorching century, while B Sai Sudharsan notched his first IPL century, helping the Gujarat Titans stay in the playoff race with a 35-run victory over the Chennai Super Kings on Friday.
Sudharsan (103 off 51 balls) and skipper Gill (104 off 55 deliveries) matched each other stroke for stroke, producing destructive centuries to guide GT to 231/3.
The home team’s bowlers then restricted the defending champions to 196/8 despite valiant fifties from Daryl Mitchell (63) and Moeen Ali (56).
After being sent in to bat, Gill and Sudharsan put on a display of six-hitting, building a 210-run partnership, the highest stand for any wicket in the IPL this season.
The two also equalled Quinton de Kock and KL Rahul’s highest-ever IPL opening partnership.
While Gill’s remarkable innings was punctuated by nine fours and six maximums, Sudharsan’s maiden IPL hundred was peppered with five boundaries and seven sixes.
In contrast, the CSK openers were back in the hut with just two runs on the board. Their best batter this season, skipper Rituraj Gaikwad (0) was also sent packing with Rashid Khan completing a brilliant catch on the boundary with the defending champions reeling at 10/3.
Mitchell and Moeen steadied the ship with some counter attacking play, stitching a 109-run partnership. The two targeted the Afghan spin duo of Rashid and Noor Ahmad.
While Moeen clobbered three sixes on the trot off Noor in the 11th over, Mitchel hit a boundary and a six in the next over off Rashid to bring down the equation to 113 runs off the last 48 balls.
But veteran Mohit Sharma (3/31) struck off his very first ball, dismissing Mitchell and then came back to take the scalps of Moeen and Shivam Dube (21).
Rashid soon joined the party, getting rid of Ravindra Jadeja (18) and Mitchell Santner (0).
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (26 not out) got the fans excited with three sixes, including back-to-back maximums in the last over but it was in a lost cause.
The win lifted GT from the bottom of the table to the eighth spot. They have 10 points from 12 games.
While CSK remain on fourth with 12 points, their net run rate took a hit, dropping from +0.700 to +0.491.
Earlier invited to bat first, Gill timed to perfection an over pitched Santner delivery for GT’s first boundary of the innings. He then lofted the ball over mid on for a maximum, setting the tone of the game.
Gill’s lazy elegance was on full display as he hit an effortless six off a Simarjeet Singh delivery over long on into the stands in the sixth over.
At the other end, after a relatively slow start, Sudarsan, who was elevated to the role of an opener, too accelerated. He went down on his knees to hit a slog sweep off star spinner Ravindra Jadeja to get his fifty in 32-balls.
A couple of overs later, Gill too reached his half-century with a top edge that went the distance.
The CSK bowlers, barring Shardul Thakur (0/25), who was the most economical, could do little to stop the onslaught by Gill and Sudharsan.
CSK’s effort in the field was also found wanting, besides general sloppiness, the defending champions, dropped Gill at the boundary.
Tushar Deshpande (2/33) misjudged a miss-hit by Gill and dropped the GT skipper on 72. To add salt to the wounds, not only the dropped catch went for a six, the Daryl Mitchell over yielded 19 runs.
Gill soon brought up his fourth IPL hundred by sending a Simarjeet full toss through square leg for four. It was the 100th ton in the history of the IPL and the youngster celebrated rather animatedly.
Sudharsan followed his skipper as he sent a length ball soaring over the fence to bring up his first-ever IPL hundred in style.
CSK bowlers then managed to stage a comeback as they gave just 41 runs in the last five overs. Deshpande picked up the wickets of Sudharsan and Gill.
(With inputs from PTI)

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