Batting first after losing the toss, Chennai put up 178/7 on the board as Ruturaj Gaikwad top-scored with 92 off 50 balls. The right-handed batter slammed four fours and nine sixes in his terrific innings. However, he did not find much in the form of support from the rest.
Devon Conway was bowled by Mohammed Shami for 1, while Moeen Ali (23), Ben Stokes (7), Ambati Rayudu (12), Shivam Dube (19) and Ravindra Jadeja (1) all fell cheaply. It needed a couple of big hits from skipper MS Dhoni (14 not out off 7 balls) to take CSK closer to the 180-run mark. For Gujarat, Mohammed Shami, Rashid Khan and Alzarri Joseph claimed two wickets each, while Joshua Little picked up 1 for 41.
Chasing 179, Gujarat’s openers Wriddhiman Saha and Shubman Gill added 37 in under four overs. Saha was looking dangerous when he perished to Rajvardhan Hangargekar for 25 off 16 balls. Gill, however, carried on his great form and slammed 63 in only 36 balls. His knock featured six fours and three sixes and ended when he fell trying to take on Tushar Deshpande - IPL’s first Impact Player.
With two overs left, Gujarat needed 23 runs for victory. Rashid and Rahul Tewatia (15* off 14) found crucial boundaries at the end to lift the defending champions to victory in 19.2 overs.
Speaking after the game, GT skipper Hardik Pandya said, “We did put ourselves in a difficult situation but Rahul and Rashid did very well. We were happy at the mid-innings because at one point they looked like getting 200, but we got those couple of wickets to pull things back. Having this Impact rule makes my job difficult. I have too many options, and because of this someone will bowl less.”
Rashid Khan, Player of the Match, added, “So happy to get this crucial Man of the Match. Will give me a lot of the energy for the rest of the competition. I try to do my best in all three formats, and give it all in the practice sessions. The plan is hard to bowl to lefties, but the idea was to keep it tight and I knew in my mind that if I keep it simple and get two wickets, we will be back in the game.”
--By A Cricket Correspondent