Virat Kohli’s first fifty (58, 53b, 6×4, 1×6) in 14 Indian Premier League fixtures went in vain as an all-round performance from the Gujarat Titans saw Hardik Pandya and Co. romp to a six-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore here on Saturday.
Titans’ fifth successive win meant it continues to occupy the top spot in the points table.
Kohli wound back the clock, exhibiting nimble footwork and impeccable timing. However, the Royal Challengers Bangalore turned out to be a few runs short on the batting-friendly track at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, 203 being the average winning first-innings total at this venue.
GT v RCB, IPL 2022 – AS IT HAPPENED
In the first innings, Pradeep Sangwan was impressive in his comeback game for the Titans, finishing with figures of 4-0-19-2. Rahul Tewatia (43, 25b, 5×4, 2×6), later adjudged player of the match, and David Miller (39, 24b, 4×4, 1×6) came good again at the death, registering an unbeaten 79-run stand off 40 deliveries.
RCB, having chosen to bat first, lost Faf du Plessis for a duck. However, even though Pandya was actively involved in making field changes and passing on words of wisdom to his bowlers, Kohli initially kept picking the gaps with considerable ease. But his strike-rate took a nosedive to a final 109.43 after Patidar (52, 32b, 5×4, 2×6) fell.
Mohammad Shami got Kohli out in the 17th over with a yorker, which crashed into the base of the off-stump. Dinesh Karthik and Glenn Maxwell made their way back into the hut shortly after.
Mahipal Lomror’s relief after being caught off a dead ball in the final over, when the ball made contact with a transmission cable, was short-lived as he perished off the final ball.
The GT openers, chasing 175, escaped the Powerplay unhurt. RCB may have committed a tactical error by not using Hasaranga in the first six overs. It became obvious when he removed Wriddhiman Saha (29, 22b, 4×4) with the wrong’un immediately after being introduced into the attack in the eighth over. His bowling average in Twenty20 Internationals is a miserly 10.10 in the Powerplay, compared to 16.27 between overs 7 to 16.
Shahbaz seemed to be turning things around with two big wickets of Shubman Gill (31, 28b, 3×4, 1×6) and Pandya in his second and third over. However, GT, which entered the death overs with Tewatia and Miller at the crease, got over the line with effortless ease.