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Gujarat Titans crush Rajasthan Royals by 9 wickets, consolidate position

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JAIPUR: Gujarat Titans made light work of a 119-run target set by Rajasthan Royals as the defending champions romped home with a commanding nine-wicket win in a one-sided Indian Premier League match here on Friday.

After bundling Rajasthan Royals out for a mere 118 in 17.5 overs, a 71-run resolute opening stand between Shubman Gill (36) and Wriddhiman Saha (41 not out off 34 balls) set the platform for the huge victory, which was also accomplished with captain Hardik Pandya’s brisk 15-ball 39 not out (3x4s, 3x6s).

Gujarat Titans finished at 119 for one in 13.5 overs, winning with 37 balls to spare.

Gujarat Titans thus also got back to winning ways against last year’s finalists Rajasthan Royals, handing them their fourth defeat in an overall five meetings, while consolidating their position at the top of the points table.

The Pandya-led side took their tally to 14 points in 10 matches with seven wins and only three losses, while Sanju Samson’s Royals remained fourth with five wins and as many loses in 10 games.

Both Saha and Gill got off the blocks quickly against RR pacer Trent Boult, hitting the left-armer for a couple of fours each inside the powerplay, at the end of which GT were 49 for no loss.

Yuzvendra Chahal got Gill stumped for a 35-ball 36 (4x4s) in the 10th over but the breakthrough had no impact on the Gujarat Titans’ juggernaut.

Pandya was severe on RR’s Adam Zampa, hitting the Australian leg-spinner for three sixes and a four to collect 24 runs in the 11th over and hasten the process.

Earlier in the first half, Rajasthan Royals surrendered against the Gujarat Titans’ duo of Rashid Khan and Noor Ahmad to be bundled out for a poor total, as the two Afghan spinners shared five wickets.

Rajasthan Royals’ decision to bat after winning the toss backfired as their batting crumbled against Rashid, who returned 4-0-14-3 to spark a collapse, and Noor, who registered 3-0-25-2.

Rajasthan looked in control until the fifth over of the innings at 47 for one, but the home side collapsed without any resistance to lose nine wickets for a mere 71 runs and was bowled out in 17.5 overs, at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.

Hardik Pandya had Jos Buttler (8) caught by Mohit Sharma at short third man after the batter cracked two fours in a row in the second over.

The pair of Samson and Yashasvi Jaiswal (14) tried providing RR with momentum, but their 36-run second-wicket stand was broken in the final over of the powerplay with Abhinav Manohar putting in a dive to stop a cut from Samson.

Mohit threw the ball to Rashid, who broke the stumps with Jaiswal far out from the crease.

The Rashid-led bowling attack then took firm control of the proceedings. Little ended Samson’s promising start at 30 off 20 balls (3x4s, 1x6s), getting the RR captain caught inside the ring off a mistimed stroke.

Samson moved across the line to play on the on side but could only get a leading edge, collected by Pandya as the RR skipper looked at the surface in disbelief.

Rashid then outgunned his counterpart Ravichandran Ashwin (2) for the majority of the eighth over, dismantling his off-stump on the final ball.

Riyan Parag (4) continued to disappoint as he failed to read the Afghan leggie’s googly in the 10th over and appealed unsuccessfully against the umpire’s leg-before call.

At the halfway mark, RR were stuttering at 72 for five.

Noor got into the act to keep RR under the pump, castling the left-handed Devdutt Padikkal (12) in the 12th over and trapping the dangerous Dhruv Jurel (9) leg-before in his next.

Rashid returned in the 15th over to dismiss Shimron Hetmyer (7) leg-before, with the Caribbean batter’s horrendous run continuing in this IPL.

With scores of 3, 2, 8, 8 and 7, Hetmyer has now recorded five single-digit scores on the trot.

Rashid nearly had his fourth wicket in his final over but a return shot off Trent Boult’s bat was a bit too far away for his reach in the follow-through. (PTI)

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