Medium pacer Mohit Sharma marked his return to the IPL with excellent figures of 2/18 as holders Gujarat Titans restricted Punjab Kings to 153 for eight here on Thursday.
Playing in his first game in the league since 2020, Mohit was exceptional in the penultimate over, giving away as little as six runs.
Matthew Short top-scored with a 24-ball 36, but it was Masood Shahrukh Khan’s nine-ball 22 that helped PBKS cross 150.
Sent in to bat after the coin landed in favour of the returning Gujarat Titans skipper Hardik Pandya, PBKS lost Prabhsimran Singh in the second ball of the over when his attempted flick off a length ball from Mohammed Shami went straight to Rashid Khan at short midwicket.
Prabhsimran departed without scoring.
Short walked in at number three and he got off the mark with a boundary, striking the ball through point. The next ball was short, and Short pulled the seasoned India seamer through the square leg region for another four.
Sharing the new ball with Shami, Joshua Little was welcomed with two boundaries by the in-form Shikhar Dhawan. While the first one was lofted over cover, Dhawan produced a delightful shot in the next ball, caressing the ball past mid-off in what was a high-class cover drive.
Australia’s Short, who has done well for Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash League back home, took on Shami and hit him for back-to-back fours including an authoritative boundary through mid-off.
However, just when PBKS seemed to be putting GT under pressure Little gave his team a huge breakthrough, dismissing the dangerous Dhawan (8) who came down the track to play the lofted shot, only to end up giving a catch to Alzarri Joseph.
Defending champions Gujarat Titans got another big wicket when the ever-reliable Rashid (1/26 in 4 overs) foxed a well-settled Short with a googly with PBKS’s score reading 55 for three in the seventh over.
Having struck a flurry of fours and a massive six off Joseph, Short had settled down nicely but looked clueless when Rashid decided to bowl the wrong’un.
Short’s dismissal set PBKS a bit, and it became trickier when Jitesh Sharma (25 off 23 balls) was sent back by Mohit, thanks to a smart piece of work by Wriddhiman Saha behind the wickets.
Sam Curran (22) struck a much-needed six — a big maximum over deep midwicket after star leg-spinner Rashid missed his length.
Sri Lankan Bhanuka Rajapaksa did not convince in his 26-ball 20, until his stay in the middle was cut short by Joseph.
Shahrukh Khan smashed the first ball he faced for a six over deep midwicket, before picking up another maximum off Shami.