IPL: GT’s collective effort helps them beat MI in Ahmedabad

The IPL 2023 match between Gujarat Titans (GT) and Mumbai Indians (MI) at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium on Tuesday was a perfect example of what could happen, if you tend to leak too many runs in the final few overs of an innings.

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GT were clinical in the approach against MI, and yet again, Shubman Gill (56) rose up to the occasion, hitting his third half-century of the ongoing IPL season.

And at 130/3 from 15 overs, probably nobody would have expected GT to go onto amass a 200-plus total. Maybe, just maybe, Titans would have been happy with a 180ish total, but a total like 207/6, the Titans welcomed it with open arms.

In MI’s reply, most of their batters, including skipper Rohit Sharma, seemed far from determined to chase it down. Maybe, the pressure of a big chase took a toll on them. Maybe, the batters’ approach to the chase was just not right. And maybe, if a batter like Suryakumar Yadav (23) had got going, MI still would have had a fighting chance.

Nehal Wadhera (40 off 21) struck at a good rate of 190, but he lacked a partner who could ably support him from the other end. And to make matters worse, Cam Green (33) was dismissed in the wrong time, in the 11th over, just when MI were looking to claw back into the game.

After the match, Rohit Sharma admitted the obvious, that MI’s batting could not get going.

“We have a strong batting lineup to achieve the target. Today our batting couldn’t get going. There’s a lot of dew as well so if we had batted well then maybe we would have chased it. But we didn’t start well and you don’t do that when you are chasing 200-plus,” said Rohit at the presentation ceremony.

Where MI lost the game

So where did Mumbai Indians lose the match? The most defining moment of the GT innings, and even possibly the match, came in the 18th over, bowled by Cameron Green, when he went for 22 runs.

Conceding a total in excess of 200 is the last thing a bowling team needs, but unfortunately, MI endured exactly that.

Green began with a short ball to Miller that the latter pulled for a single, but it was from the second delivery that Green’s nightmare began.

In the second ball, Green once again launched a short ball, only for Abhinav Manohar to nail the pull over the midwicket boundary.

Manohar then followed it up with another maximum, clearing long-off for another maximum and to inflict more misery on Green and MI.

Green’s problems were not done just yet. David Miller was on strike to face the last ball of the over, and made a bit of room for the shot, getting into the slot, and lofting over the gap between long-off and long-on for another maximum.

Abhinav was soon dismissed in the 19th over by Riley Meredith, but then came Rahul Tewatia, who did Tewatia things yet again.

He began with a sweep on the leg side for a six, and collected two more of those, to finish with 20 off just five deliveries (A strike-rate of 400!).

Rashid, Noor Ahmad team up

Credit must go to Afghanistan’s duo of Rashid Khan (2/27) and Noor Ahmad (3/37). The duo shared five wickets between them, and both were equally impactful in restricting MI.

And one more common thing? Both the Afghans took two wickets in their same, respective overs.

While Rashid saw off Kishan and Tilak in the eighth over, Noor, just 18 years old, got rid of Cam Green and Tim David in the 11th, to leave MI five down. Noor, saying that he is making not just GT proud, but Afghanistan as well.

“It’s great to have him in the side and sharing the bowling partnership with him since last year. That kid, he just wants to learn and he’s working so hard. Last year the way he was working, bowling lots in the nets, kept asking the questions.

“Even when I was in the gym, he was coming to the gym and saying, ‘let’s bowl here in the gym.’ At 1AM, 2 AM he was bowling with me in the gym. He wanted to get better and perform. He got the opportunity now and he’s been delivering. I am so happy for him that he’s delivering. It’s a great news for GT and also for Afghanistan,” Rashid said after the match.

While GT looked a near-perfect side on Tuesday, for MI, it’s about going back to the basics, and getting certain areas like death bowling correct. Be it batting or bowling, the final overs are where a team can lose a game, and MI would hope not to repeat the mistake again, when they face Rajasthan Royals on Sunday.

For GT, it’s a trip to Kolkata next, where they will face KKR on Saturday.

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