“When GT is playing, don’t think (like) that…” Our skipper Shubman Gill’s words from a post-match presentation saying one can never count Gujarat Titans out a few matches ago defined our performance against Punjab Kings tonight (April 21). Drawing from this spirit, we recorded a three-wicket win in TATA IPL 2024 at the Maharaja Yadavindra Singh International Cricket Stadium in Chandigarh.

In the first innings, our spinners put on a clinic to restrict PBKS to a modest total. Later, our batters chipped in with valuable contributions to take us home. Sai Kishore, playing only his third match of the season, was the star as he returned with figures of 4-33, his best in TATA IPL.

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Electing to bat, the Kings got off to a good start with Prabhsimran Singh and Sam Curran going after our bowlers. But the onslaught didn’t last long as Mohit Sharma – bowling for the first time in the Powerplay this season -- dismissed Prabhsimran. He bowled a length ball that took a nick and resulted in a straightforward catch behind the stumps for Wriddhiman Saha.

Up next was an exhibition of smart captaincy from our young leader, Shubman Gill, as he smelled blood and switched to the spinners. Noor Ahmad was the first to strike as he trapped Rilee Rossouw in front of the wickets in his first over. Though the on-field umpire ruled against us, Gill was quick to review the decision and the replay showed the ball crashing into middle and leg. 

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Rashid Bhai followed next. Sam Curran missed a delivery and the ball hit his pads plum in front of the wickets. This time too, we needed Captain Gill’s review of the on-field decision to seal the deal for us. Noor bhai sent Liam Livingstone packing a few overs later, but Sai Kishore stole the show.

Returning to the mix after featuring in our initial two games of TATA IPL 2024, our Titan from Tamil Nadu left his mark with some controlled bowling that took PBKS by surprise. Jitesh Sharma was his first victim. Kishore slowed things up to suck the Punjab batter into a rash lofted shot. Jitesh missed and saw his stumps get rattled. Ashutosh Sharma followed suit as he found Mohit Sharma in the deep. Then came the prized scalp of Shashank Singh, the man who stole the game away from us a few weeks ago.

Our master of deception, Kishore, varied the pace to entice Shashank into stepping out for a big shot. The Punjab player barely got to the pitch of the ball as it dipped on him to take a leading edge back to the bowler for an easy catch. Later, when Harpreet Brar looked dangerous, our skipper brought Sai back into the attack and he responded well by dismissing the batter via a brilliant Shahrukh Khan catch on the boundary ropes. 

Chasing a modest 143, Captain Gill and our Impact Sub for the match, Sai Sudharsan, led the charge with their timely innings. Our skipper fired from the start, while Sai Su joined him after the early dismissal of Saha. 

Captain Gill was calculative in his approach, hitting five boundaries, in his 35 off 29 while Sai Su trusted his stroke play as the two put together a 41-run stand to take us close.

Punjab hit back with a couple of wickets in the middle overs. In the end, Rahul Tewatia’s blitz saw us through. Apdo Haryana no Hiro stayed true to his style for his unbeaten 36. It included some flashy drives and powerful hits to take us home with five deliveries to spare.