Spinners Rashid Khan and Noor Ahmad rose to the occasion magnificently as Gujarat Titans outplayed Rajasthan Royals by nine wickets in Match No. 48 of the IPL 2023 at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.
While the experienced Afghan recruit Khan claimed 3/14 in four overs, his young countrymate Ahmad returned with figures of 2/25 in three, as Titans bowled the Royals out for a paltry 118 in 17.5 overs. Thereafter, the visitors put on a strong batting display, overhauling the total in only 13.5 overs. Skipper Hardik Pandya hit 39 off a mere 15 balls after Shubman Gill (36 runs) and Wriddhiman Saha (41 runs*) put on 71 for the opening wicket.
Former Australian cricketer Brett Lee, too, praised Khan, saying: "Well, Rashid is loved all across the world. What an asset he is for his own country. He can demonstrate his athleticism, the way he outthinks batsmen, I think he bowled beautifully again today."
"He's had a bit of a hard run in the last two or three games but today he proved again why he is among the best in the world. 3/14 in four overs and once again he was outstanding." Speaking about Pandya, Lee said: "Tonight, he took it upon himself, took a few risks and got it (the target)."
Gujarat consolidate top position
The win took table-toppers Titans to 14 points from 10 games, while RR stay put on 10 points from as many matches. They now lie in fourth spot on the points table.
"Mohammed Shami seems to be improving day by day and he also holds the purple cap for now. Hardik Pandya too is bowling well. On the other hand, their spin department has been bowling very well. Rashid Khan and Noor have been bowling beautifully. These four have formed a well-knit bowling unit," said JioCinema IPL expert RP Singh.
"Then they have introduced Mohit Sharma after a long time. Every player is performing their role to perfection. Today especially, the spinners established a stranglehold on the match and the Royals did not get any chance to bat freely after that," he added.
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