IPL

Shankar smashes half-century as Titans ease past Knights Riders

By Sports Desk April 29, 2023

Vijay Shankar's half-century helped the Gujarat Titans to a comfortable seven-wicket triumph over the Kolkata Knights Riders at Eden Gardens on Saturday.

Rinku Singh famously smashed five sixes in the last over to earn Kolkata victory the last time these sides met, but this time Shubman Gill and Vijay Shankar took the acclaim as Gujarat cruised to their 180 target for a third straight win.

Gujarat won the toss and put Kolkata in to bat first, and after a 45-minute rain delay, Rahmanullah Gurbaz powered his way to 81 off just 39 deliveries to take the Knights Riders to 135 off 15.2 overs before he was caught at deep midwicket by Rashid Khan off Noor Ahmad's bowling.

Andre Russell (34 from 19) and Rinku (19 off 20) also chipped in with late cameos as Kolkata finished on 179/7, while Mohammed Shami (3-33) impressed with the ball for the Titans.

Gujarat's chase got off to a strong start thanks to Gill as he combined with Wriddhiman Saha (10 off 10) and captain Hardik Pandya (26 from 20) to take the Titans on the way to victory.

Gill (49) was eventually dismissed on the verge of his half-century when he skied Sunil Narine's delivery to Russell, but Shankar and David Miller (32 from 18) would finish the job with two overs remaining.

Kolkata's powerplay woes continue

The Knights Riders are the only team to concede at least 50 runs in all nine of their matches so far this season, an unwanted run that is the longest in IPL history.

Kolkata's batsmen are averaging a boundary every 4.8 balls, the most often of all IPL teams, but their bowlers again failed to live up to expectations as they fell to a fifth defeat in six matches.

Shankar haunts Kolkata again

Shankar's 51 off 24 balls made him the second non-opener to score two half-centuries against the Knight Riders in an IPL season after Suresh Raina in 2017.

The batsman has hit 10 sixes against Kolkata across both games, the joint third-highest in one season against the Knights Riders.

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