David Miller and Rashid Khan nullified Ruturaj Gaikwad’s return to form with a 70-run stand that fuelled Gujarat Titans’ stunning heist over Chennai Super Kings to extend their lead at the top of the table. CSK looked set to defend their 169 for 5, but up stepped Miller with an innings of 94 from 51 balls to snatch the two points away from Ravindra Jadeja’s grasp.
First about that partnership…
Rashid Khan walked out to bat with Gujarat Titans on 87 for 5, and terribly missed the impact of their regular skipper Hardik Pandya. Dwayne Bravo had just put an end to thoughts of Miller and Rahul Tewatia dragged this chase deep, by taking out the latter. Out of those 87 at that stage, Miller already had 52 off just 29 balls, having already punished Jadeja in a 19-run over. Their brief, fiery stand pushed GT from a dreadful start but they still needed a batter to provide ample support if Miller was to pull off the unthinkable.
Rashid, on his captaincy debut, wouldn’t have fathomed a role with the bat but out he came and did exactly what Miller needed of him, and perhaps a little more. Even after Tewatia’s exit, Miller didn’t let the urgency drop, as he picked two fours off Chris Jordan in the 14th over. He perhaps began to make CSK a touch queasy, when he carted a wide yorker from Bravo for a big six to head into the strategic timeout with GT on 108 for 5 in 15 overs, still needing 62 to win.
For CSK, the game was there to steer back in their direction with a wicket but that just didn’t come. Even with the reintroduction of Maheesh Theekshana. The mystery spinner offered Miller a long hop which was deposited over deep backward square leg in a 10-run over. The wily Bravo bowled an exceptional over in the death under all the pressure as Rashid and Miller could only pick four singles off it. 48 off 18 seemed a bridge too far, but Rashid suddenly took centrestage.
The 25-run Chris Jordan over
The GT skipper more than made up for the lost momentum in the previous over by ripping into Jordan, who missed his yorkers. As he’d shown in several leagues around the world, Rashid has quite a handy batter in him, as he made use of his quick wristwork to dispatch two big sixes on the leg side. Jordan was adamant on trying to nail the yorker and ended up bowling a full toss to Rashid, who lifted it over cover for a four. Another exceptional show of strong bottom hand saw Rashid pick his third six of the 25-run over that well and truly deflated CSK.
Bravo still tried to salvage the game for his side, dismissing Rashid for a 21-ball 40 as well as taking out Alzarri Joseph first ball to leave CSK to get 13 off the final over.
The final over heroics
Jadeja considered his options and went back to Jordan, who’d already conceded 45 off his 3 overs. His death-overs credentials still left CSK with some hopes, but those were dashed on the third ball when Miller flicked one for a six. CSK thought they had their man on the next ball when a wide swipe went straight to the short third man fielder, but the ball was a waist-high no-ball. Miller then flicked the free-hit ball for a four on the leg side, and collected the two winning runs off the penultimate delivery to complete one of the most incredible run-chases in the tournament.
Why did it even come down to Miller and Rashid doing all the batting?
Because of GT’s horror start to chase.
Shubman Gill, one of Gujarat Titans’ better batters this season, offered catching practice to Robin Uthappa at point off the first ball he faced to rock a Pandya-less GT. Vijay Shankar then squandered yet another opportunity to make his mark in this year’s IPL, when he failed to read Maheesh Theekshana’s carom ball and departed for a duck. Theekshana carried forward his fine, wicket-taking form from the RCB game as Abhinav Manohar became his second victim of the innings, and the third overall in the PowerPlay to leave the chasers rotting at 16 for 3.
Ruturaj – CSK’s only positive takeaway tonight?
Robin Uthappa couldn’t repeat his heroics from the RCB game and Moeen Ali’s slump with the bat continued but Ruturaj steered his way out of the PowerPlay – for the first time in the tournament – and went on to score his first half-century of the season. In the absence of Hardik and on an off-day for Lockie Ferguson, GT bowlers suffered the wrath of CSK’s middle-overs carnage courtesy Ruturaj and Ambati Rayudu. Ruturaj looked set for another IPL hundred, but fell in the 17th over while trying and failing to clear the deep backward square leg fielder. He departed for 73 off 48, with five fours and five sixes.
CSK stuttered a bit in the aftermath of that dismissal but still got 34 off the last 18 balls to push their total to 169 for 5. They started perfectly with the ball, setting themselves up to collect the two points on offer, until Miller swooped in and turned the tables.
Brief Scores: Chennai Super Kings 169/5 in 20 overs lost to Gujarat Titans 170/7 in 19.5 overs (David Miller 94*, Rashid Khan 40; Dwayne Bravo 3-23) by 3 wickets
What next for the teams?
CSK have three days to lick their wounds before going up against Mumbai Indians, who are still on zero points, on Thursday (April 21). Gujarat Titans have a longer break before they face KKR at the DY Patil stadium on Saturday (April 23)