Pandya, Ferguson shine as GT beat RR

Mumbai, April 14 : Hardik Pandya’s unbeaten 87 and Lockie Ferguson’s three-wicket haul helped Gujarat Titans (GT) to beat Rajasthan Royals (RR) by 37 runs in an IPL match here at the DY Patil Sports Academy on Thursday. Captain Pandya batted with full responsibility as his four sixes and eight fours studded 52-ball innings which powered GT to post 192/4. In reply, RR were restricted to 155/9 in spite of Jos Buttler’s quick-fire 54 off 24 balls. Chasing the 193-run target, RR raced to 65 runs in the Powerplay, but lost three wickets, including Buttler, which turned the table in favour of GT. Debutant Yash Dayal (3/40) removed Devdutt Padikkal for a duck. In a surprise move, RR sent Ravichandran Ashwin at No.3 ahead of skipper Sanju Samson. The move didn’t work out well as Ferguson (3/23) removed him for 8, thanks to a stunning catch by David Miller at short cover. On the last ball of the Powerplay, a legcutter from Ferguson cleaned up Buttler. The Englishman, who regained his orange cap from Pandya, smashed three sixes and eight boundaries in his short-lived innings. GT bowlers continued to pile misery on RR and barring Shimron Hetmyer (29), who was dropped on 23, no other RR batter could manage to take their side out of the troubled waters. Earlier in the day, put into bat first, GT got off to a decent start before RR stuck twice in the Powerplay. Opener Matthew Wade hammered Jimmy Neesham for three boundaries in the first over. Rassie van der Dussen took the revenge in the very next over with a brilliant direct throw which forced Wade to return to the dugout for 12. On a short and wide outside off delivery by Kuldeep Sen, Vijay Shankar walked back cheaply for 2. Soon after the Powerplay, Riyan Parag got the crucial wicket of Shubman Gill (13), reducing GT to 53/3. Pandya and Abhinav Manohar then got into rebuilding. While both were aggressively scoring for GT, Yuzvendra Chahal ended the 86-run partnership. The leg-spinner denied Manohar (43) a fifty as the GT batter was caught at short fine leg. Miller (31 not out off 14) then supported Pandya as the duo added 53 runs towards the end.

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