Umran Malik ran through the Gujarat Titans top-order with his maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) five-wicket haul but a stunning cameo from Rahul Tewatia and Rashid Khan snatched away the victory from the jaws of Sunrisers Hyderabad. After a remarkable knock from Wriddhiman Saha (68 off 38 balls); Rashid and Tewatia stitched an unbeaten 59-run stand for the sixth wicket to take Gujarat Titans home with five wickets in hand. Following the victory, the Hardik Pandya-led side jumped to the top of the points table with 14 points.
In pursuit of a challenging 196-run target, Gujarat Titans went off to a terrific start. The opening duo of Wriddhiman Saha and Shubman Gill kicked off the chase with a 69-run partnership for the first wicket. But once SRH brought their spearhead in Umran Malik into the attack, Titans’ batting began to scatter like a house of cards.
The 21-year-old pacer drew the first blood by knocking over Gill in the 8th over. The opener seemed to have found his rhythm back after a series of failures but Umran halted his journey midway. He bowled a 144 kph length delivery that pierced the room made by Gill, castling him for 22 off 24 balls.
Gujarat skipper Hardik Pandya entered the game on the back of three consecutive fifties but his excellent spree was jolted by Umran on Wednesday night. The speedster bowled a short ball, tempting the opposition captain to go for the pull. While doing so, Pandya ended up getting caught by Marco Jansen who was stationed at fine third man.
Meanwhile, Saha anchored the chase with an array of shots and brought the first fifty of this season. He featured in a 37-run stand with David Miller for the third wicket before getting clean bowled by Umran in the 14th over. The wicketkeeper-batter ended up scoring 68 off 38 balls and his innings was laced with a six and 11 boundaries.
Umran returned in the 16th over to complete his spell and completed a five-wicket haul by pocketing the wickets of Miller (17) and Abhinav Manohar (0). Not only it was his maiden IPL fifer but also his best bowling figures – 5 for 25 in 4 overs – in the league.
Umran had almost assured a promising win for the Sunrisers but Tewatia (40 not out off 21 balls) and Rashid (31 not out off 11) had other ideas. With 56 required from the last 24 balls, star from Afghanistan finished the game with a six over fine leg.
Earlier, Abhishek Sharma and Aiden Markram struck sparkling half-centuries as SRH posted 195 for six after being asked to bat first. Abhishek blazed away to 65 off 42 deliveries, while Markram made a 40-ball 56 during a third-wicket stand of 96 runs.
Then, Shashank Singh (25 off 6 balls) smashed Lockie Ferguson (0/52 in 4 overs) for three successive sixes to score 25 runs in the innings’ final over.
Unperturbed by the fall of two wickets, Abhishek collected two successive fours off Alzarri Joseph — first he lofted over the infield and then found the gap through a packed off-side — to help SRH score 53 runs in the six power play overs at the Wankhede Stadium.
SRH needed a partnership at that stage and the duo of Abhishek and Markram not just provided them that but also kept the scoreboard moving at a very good rate by regularly finding the boundaries.
While Markram dealt with the likes of pacers such as Alzarri, Abhishek went after Rashid Khan, hitting the Afghanistan spin ace for his third six to reach his half-century in style. However, the 21-year-old’s fine innings came to an end when he inside-edged a slower delivery from Alzarri in the first ball of the 16th over.
Shami came back to dismiss the big-hitting Nicholas Pooran (3) cheaply before Markram got to his fifty by pulling the bowler for a six over deep mid-wicket. Stationed in the deep, Rashid’s day in the field got worse as he misjudged it.
(With PTI Inputs)