Indian T20 League 2022: Hardik Pandya powers Gujarat to 37-run win over Rajasthan
By Devarchit Varma April 15, 2022
Hardik Pandya’s all-round show on Thursday night at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai proved to be too much for Rajasthan, who not only lost the Match No 24 by 37 runs but also the top position in the points table for the Indian T20 Cricket League 2022 to one of the two new teams in the competition.
Hardik Pandya did everything possible on Thursday night — he lifted his team from a precarious position when they lost 3 wickets without any significant score on the board to power them to 192/4 in 20 overs with an unbeaten 87.
With the ball, the Gujarat captain bowled a fine spell of 2.3-0-18-1 dismissing Rajasthan all-rounder James Neesham for 17 at a crucial juncture in the game later on in the contest, and he was outstanding in the field too.
When Sanju Samson set off for a sharp single with Hardik Pandya placed at mid-on in the 8th over, the Gujarat captain proved to be sharper than his peer in the opposition camp as his bullet throw at the non-striker’s end caught the Rajasthan captain-wicketkeeper-batsman short of his crease, dismissing him for only 11.
Hardik Pandya’s hard work did pay off handsomely — even though he limped off the field having suffered an injury to his right leg which did look alarming — his team Gujarat managed to topple Rajasthan from the top spot in the Indian T20 Cricket League points table with a victory by 37 runs.
The Gujarat captain was indeed unstoppable on Thursday night. With his team suffering a shock defeat in their previous match, he came out to bat as early as in the 3rd over of the innings after Sanju Samson’s Rajasthan invited his team to bat and made early inroads.
For the second game on the trot Gujarat lost their in-form opener Shubman Gill for 13 and Vijay Shankar for 2 upon his return to the playing XI. Before these two dismissals, Gujarat had already suffered a big blow in the form of Matthew Wade, who was run out in what seemed to be a promising innings of 12, for which the Australian had hit 3 fours already.
Hardik Pandya added 38 runs with Shubman Gill to help Gujarat revive from the twin blows early on after they lost their best batsman for just 13 at a time when they needed a strong partnership. The dismissal of Shubman Gill in the 7th over of the innings left Gujarat struggling at 53/3.
Hardik Pandya joined forces with the talented and aggressive batsman Abhinav Manohar to consolidate for their side. For the fourth wicket, Hardik Pandya and Abhinav Manohar added 86 runs from only 55 balls which promised Gujarat a strong platform after a shaky start.
Abhinav Manohar did well to score 43 from 28 balls with 4 boundaries and 2 sixes and Gujarat also received a strong contribution from David Miller, with the South African banishing his poor run of scores to make 31 not out from only 14 balls with 5 boundaries and a six.
Hardik Pandya was not only severe on the Rajasthan bowlers, but he batted intelligently to keep rotating the strike and get runs with it, scoring 87 not out from 52 balls with 8 fours and 4 sixes to grab the coveted Orange Cap — even if it was for a while.
Gujarat finished at a strong total of 192/4 from their 20 overs, with Rajasthan bowlers willing to make any mark whatsoever. Their star spin bowler Yuzvendra Chahal returned with a solitary wicket in the form of Abhinav Manohar whereas Riyan Parag and Kuldip Sen also claimed one wicket each.
Rajasthan needed a strong reply and Jos Buttler seemed to be in red-hot form right from the start. The English wicket-keeper batsmen hammered 63 sixes and eight boundaries to score 54 from just 24 balls, with his half century somehow overshadowing a top order collapse for Rajasthan.
Devdutt Padikkal was dismissed for a first-ball duck by Yash Dayal whereas a surprise move of sending Ravichandran Ashwin at No 3 did not work well for the Rajasthan side as the spin bowling all-rounder was dismissed for a run-a-ball 8.
Rajasthan desperately required a strong partnership in the middle but they did not find any for the remainder of the game. Hardik Pandya ran out Sanju Samson for 11, Rassie van der Dussen became the second victim of Yash Dayal for 6 and even though Shimron Hetmyer showed aggressive intent in his 17-ball 29 hitting 2 boundaries and a six, Rajasthan fell short.
Playing his first match in the tournament, Gujarat left-arm fast bowler Yash Dayal did well to return with figures of 4-0-40-3 whereas New Zealand fast bowler Lockie Ferguson was the pick among the bowlers with this figures reading 4-0-23-3. Among the other wicket-takers were Mohammad Shami and Hardik Pandya with one apiece.
Gujarat will next be seen in action against Chennai on Sunday, April 17 whereas Rajasthan will face-off with Kolkata on Monday, April 18.
Devarchit Varma is a cricket writer and journalist with an experience of more than a decade, having worked at Hindustan Times (newspaper) and CricketCountry (website). Along with covering international and domestic cricket, he has also interviewed several current and former top players such as Rohit Sharma, Steve Smith, Dale Steyn, Michael Hussey, Jacques Kallis, Brendon McCullum, Shane Watson, Lasith Malinga and many more. He has also worked in other beats as a journalist in Bollywood (Reliance BigOye) and IT (SiliconIndia) industries.
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