Gujarat win battle of IPL newcomers against Lucknow Mohammad Shami of Gujarat Titans celebrating the wicket of Manish Pandey of Lucknow Super Giants (Sportzpics for IPL/PTI Photo)
Mohammed Shami’s three wickets and a batting blitz by Rahul Tewatia helped Gujarat Titans begin their IPL journey with a thrilling win over fellow debutants Lucknow Super Giants on Monday.
Chasing 159 for victory, Gujarat were in trouble at 78-4 but Tewatia smashed an unbeaten 40 off 24 balls to make his team win by five wickets and two balls to spare in Mumbai.
Shami set up the win for Gujarat after he returned figures of 3-25 to restrict Lucknow, led by KL Rahul, to 158-6.
“This was the right game for us to be on either side and learn, but have learnt a lot by winning,” said Gujarat skipper Hardik Pandya.
“Shami is known for his seam positions and he got us to a great start. We would have any day taken 160 on this wicket.”
Gujarat, owned by CVC Capital — a US capital venture fund, slipped when Pandya fell for 33 to elder brother Krunal Pandya’s left-arm spin.
The wicket ended a 57-run partnership with Matthew Wade, who soon got out for 30.
David Miller, who made 30, and Tewatia — both left-hand batters — put together 60 off 34 balls to swing the momentum back in Gujarat’s favour.
“The wicket was so good that Miller and I were discussing that we would take it deep and it’s a matter of just one over,” said Tewatia.
“After I hit that six with the reverse sweep, that got (Ravi) Bishnoi thinking.”
Tewatia completed the chase with his fifth four — he also struck two sixes — with partner Abhinav Manohar hitting 15 off seven balls.
Earlier Shami rattled the Lucknow top-order with three early strikes including getting Rahul caught behind for nought on the first ball of the match and bowled Quinton de Kock for seven.
Shubman Gill took a stunning catch while backwards to send back Evin Lewis out for 10 off Varun Aaron before Lucknow hit back with fifties from Deepak Hooda (55) and Ayush Badoni (54).
Both Gujarat and Lucknow, owned by Indian tycoon Sanjiv Goenka’s RPSG conglomerate, have added to the Twenty20 spectacle in the world’s most valuable cricket tournament that has expanded to 10 teams and 74 matches.
Former champions Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad open their IPL campaign on Tuesday with the first game of the season in Pune — one of the two cities hosting the league matches with limited crowds due to Covid-related restrictions.