IPL

Titans edge IPL season opener as Gaikwad's knock proves fruitless

By Sports Desk March 31, 2023

Ruturaj Gaikwad's stunning knock was not enough as Chennai Super Kings suffered a five-wicket loss to reigning Indian Premier League champions Gujarat Titans in Friday's thrilling season opener. 

Gaikwad scored 92 from 50 balls at Narendra Modi Stadium, tallying up the third-highest score in an IPL season opener, after Brendon McCullum's 158 in 2008 and Rohit Sharma's 98 in 2015.

The Super Kings reached 178-7 from their 20 overs, with captain MS Dhoni hitting an unbeaten 14 from seven balls in the closing stages of their innings.

Titans debutant Kane Williamson suffered a knee injury while fielding and was unable to bat, but Gujarat made a strong start, reaching 37 from the first 23 deliveries before Wriddhiman Saha succumbed to Rajvardhan Hangargekar (3-36).

Shubman Gill (63) expertly anchored the innings, though Chennai looked well placed to push on for victory when Tushar Deshpande dismissed the opener in the 15th over, following on from Sai Sudharsan and Hardik Pandya losing their wickets.

Their chances of victory looked greater still when the dangerous Vijay Shankar (27 from 21) was brilliantly caught out by Mitchell Santner, leaving the Titans requiring 30 from 18 balls.

Yet an expensive over from Deepak Chahar saw Rashid Khan add 10 runs in the space of two deliveries, and similar slackness from Hangargekar enabled Rahul Tewatia to seal victory.

Gaikwad and Gill the stars of the show

Gaikwad's exceptional 92 came at a strike rate of 184. His knock included nine sixes, with a further four shots hitting the rope.

Gill, though, provided the steady pair of hands needed to help push the Titans to victory. His 63 came at a S/R of 175, the second-highest in IPL history (minimum 25 runs).

Ton up for Shami

It was the Super Kings' death bowling that let them down, and they will rue an opportunity missed to claim their first win over the Titans.

The champions' bowlers did not perform brilliantly either, but Mohammed Shami's 2-29 saw him move onto 101 IPL wickets. He is the 15th Indian and 19th bowler overall to reach that milestone.

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