IPL: David Miller, Rahul Tewatia guide Gujarat Titans home
Southpaws Rahul Tewatia (43*) and David Miller (39*) are consistently making their mark as two of the most reliable finishers in this edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Against Chennai Super Kings, it was Miller’s unbeaten 94 along with Rashid Khan’s innings that took the Gujarat Titans to victory in the last over.
On Saturday, against the Royal Challengers Bangalore at Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium, the duo’s 79-run partnership in 40 balls again bailed out the Titans from a mid-match collapse to register a six-wicket triumph. Their finishing overshadowed former Indian captain Virat Kohli’s return to form with a half-century.
Titans’ openers Wriddhiman Saha and Shubman Gill had given the team a sedate start in pursuit of 171. Their departure in quick succession, followed by captain Hardik Pandya’s dismissal, pushed the team back. Sai Sudarshan too lost his wicket before Tewatia and Miller took matters into their hands.
Earlier, Virat Kohli was finally back among the runs. The authoritative front-foot push was back; the drive down the ground was also on display; the wristy flick to the mid-wicket boundary was a spectacle to behold. Kohli’s 53-ball, 58-run knock and his 99–run second-wicket partnership with Rajat Patidar, who hit a 32-ball 52, helped Challengers to a competitive total of 170/6 in 20 overs.
This, after RCB captain Faf du Plessis called correctly and decided to bat first. The former South African captain was unable to produce the form he managed in the first half of the tournament and was caught behind by Wriddhiman Saha for nought off a Pradeep Sangwan delivery that went across him.
The Delhi left-arm pacer, playing his first match for the Titans, was at his miserly best, grabbing two wickets and conceding just 19 runs.
The conversation before the match, though, was around Kohli’s lack of runs. He quelled the debate with an innings that oozed class but lacked the momentum that the Challengers badly needed. Credit then goes to 28-year-old MP batter Patidar, who took the pressure off him by finding the boundaries at regular intervals.
After being beaten by a Mohammad Shami outswinger off the second ball of the match, Kohli produced a classy straight drive past mid-off before whipping the ball off his legs to get going with two boundaries in the opening over. West Indian Alzarri Joseph was also greeted by Kohli with two trademark boundaries before Lockie Ferguson bogged him down with his back of length deliveries.