Pant-Axar brilliance as Delhi outmuscle Gujarat in last over thriller

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Choosing to bowl first proved advantageous for the Gujarat Titans as they swiftly dismissed Delhi’s opening batsmen, Prithvi Shaw and Jake Fraser-McGurk, courtesy of Sandeep Warrier’s impressive fourth over. The home team continued to face difficulties as they lost Shai Hope in the sixth over, leaving them struggling at 44/3 by the end of the powerplay.

However, Axar Patel and skipper Rishabh Pant steadied the ship with a solid 61-run partnership, guiding Delhi to 105/3 after 12 overs. The experienced 33-year-old Gujarat all-rounder showcased his batting prowess with a brisk half-century off 37 balls, setting the stage for Delhi’s competitive total.

Although the duo seemed well-set, Noor Ahmad’s dismissal of Axar in the 17th over interrupted their 113-run partnership. Nonetheless, Rishabh Pant remained steadfast, shouldering the batting responsibilities and reaching his fifty off 34 balls. With Tristan Stubbs’ impressive cameo of 26 runs off just seven deliveries in the 17th over, the Delhi skipper shone brilliantly, finishing with a stunning 88 runs off 43 deliveries.

Pant’s onslaught saw him accumulate 31 runs in the final over bowled by Mohit Sharma, leading Delhi to a commanding total of 224/4 in their allotted 20 overs. The hosts’ joy continued in the second innings with the early dismissal of Gujarat’s opener and captain Shubman Gill in the second over.

However, Wriddhiman Saha and Sai Sudharsan countered effectively, crafting a solid 60-run partnership to elevate Gujarat’s score to 67/1 by the end of the powerplay. With the required run rate approaching 12.25 by the ninth over, the duo encountered difficulties in finding boundaries as Delhi’s Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav displayed excellent bowling. Additionally, Saha departed in the 10th over, while Sudharsan reached his fifty off 29 deliveries.

However, Gujarat’s batting stumbled slightly after Azmatullah Omarzai’s dismissal in the 11th over by Axar. With David Miller and Sudharsan at the crease, Gujarat’s scorecard read 109/3 after 11 overs. Unfortunately, Sudharsan’s innings came to an end in the 13th over after a commendable display of 65 runs off 39 deliveries.

Misfortune continued for Gujarat as Shahrukh Khan fell in the 15th over, leaving the Titans at 140/5 after 14.2 overs. With 73 runs needed from the final four overs, Gujarat Titans found themselves in desperate need of a miracle after Rahul Tewatia’s swift dismissal. However, a glimmer of hope emerged as the Proteas star dramatically shifted gears, smashing 24 runs in the 17th over to achieve a spectacular half-century off just 21 balls.

Unfortunately, his innings concluded in the 18th over, leaving Sai Kishore and Rashid Khan at the crease. Momentum swung in favor of the visitors as the Tamil Nadu spinner and Rashid Khan combined to plunder 18 runs in the 19th over. With Kishore’s departure, the Titans required 19 runs from the final over.

With great determination, Afghan all-rounder Rashid Khan struck two consecutive boundaries off Mukesh Kumar’s first two deliveries. However, the Indian pacer staged a remarkable comeback by conceding just seven runs off the last three deliveries as Delhi Capitals clinched a thrilling victory by four runs.

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