Chasing a target of 180, the Hardik Pandya-led side reached home inside 17.5 overs, courtesy of another quickfire half-century. It was the second consecutive fifty from the Tamil Nadu all-rounder who’s scoring runs for fun in this tournament.
Shankar smashed an unbeaten 51* off 24 balls while Shubman Gill missed out on a well-deserved half-century in the run chase. Gill scored 49 off 35 balls before getting dismissed by Sunil Narine.
Shankar – who walked into the middle at number four after the dismissal of a set Gill – once again showcased his big-hitting skills as he hit five sixes and a couple of fours in his fiery knock.
David Miller – who has been performing the finisher’s role for GT – once again showed his calm demeanour in the middle with his knock of 32* off 17 balls, and took his team home.
Gujarat Titans needed 73 in the last 37 balls and they chased that down in just 24 balls as they became the first team of the season to win a game in Kolkata chasing.
Earlier in the day, GT bowling unit held its own despite Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s scintillating 81 as RR could only manage a below-par 179 for 7 on a good batting track.
Returning to the side after Jason Roy pulled out because of a back spasm, the Afghanistan opener struck his second fifty of the season as he smashed seven sixes and five fours en route to his 39-ball knock.
But once rookie Afghanistan spinner Noor Ahmed (4-0-21-2) dismissed his teammate with compatriot Rashid Khan completing a well-judged catch, KKR didn’t make good use of the final few overs as Mohammed Shami (3/33 in 4 overs) and Irishman Josh Little (2/25 in 4 overs) did play their part to perfection.
At 135/5, KKR had the firepower of Andre Russell and Rinku Singh with 28 balls to go. But they could not get past the 200-mark, which always gives a team a psychological edge.
Rinku became Noor’s second victim, while ‘birthday boy’ Russell could not express himself fully with GT bowlers doing well to restrict him for a 19-ball 34 not out (2×4, 3×6).
KKR managed just 45 runs and lost three wickets in the final five overs. Put into bat, after a 45-minute rain interruption KKR lost two wickets in the powerplay with Shami dismissing Narayan Jagadeesan (19 off 15 balls).
Comeback man Shardul Thakur who capped a four-ball duck before being caught by a superb backward running catch by Mohit Sharma. But that did not drag back KKR as Gurbaz showed the way with some clean power-hitting, racing to a 27-ball fifty with four fours and four sixes.
Making his intent clear, Gurbaz teed off smashing GT skipper Pandya for two sixes in three balls. He then took the attack on Shami with disdain. The Indian pace spearhead angled a delivery onto him but Gurbaz was in full flow as he backed away and smashed it straight over the bowler’s head to race to 26 off 10 balls.
Rashid (0/54 in 4 overs) was brought in but he also failed to stem the flow of runs with a relentless Gurbaz striking in full force.
(With PTI inputs)
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