Mumbai: Wriddhiman Saha starred with an unbeaten 67 as Gujarat Titans completed a comfortable seven-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings in match 62 of the IPL 2022 at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.
After the bowlers produced a brilliant show to restrict Chennai to a below-par 133/5, Saha anchored the chase and took them home with five balls to spare. The result also means that Titans have confirmed their spot in the top two of the points table, which means they will get to play in Qualifier 1 at Kolkata on May 24.
Saha got Titans off to a brisk start in pursuit of 134, taking three boundaries off Mukesh Choudhary in the opening over, two of them coming through an inner edge past stumps and top-edge over keeper. In Choudhary's next over, Saha was dropped on 21 by Ruturaj Gaikwad at point amid the right-hander collecting two boundaries.
From there onwards, it was no looking back for Saha, pulling Simarjeet Singh over deep mid-wicket for six in the fifth over followed by thumping one over the bowler's head for a boundary. Saha's fast and furious start allowed Shubman Gill to take his time and bring out the pull as well as sweep to take boundaries off Mitchell Santner.
But Matheesha Pathirana, the pacer with an uncanny resemblance to countryman Lasith Malinga's sling-arm bowling action, bagged his maiden IPL wicket by trapping Gill lbw with a full, pacy delivery which hit him low on the pad as the right-hander attempted to flick. Gill reviewed but was unable to overturn the decision, ending the 59-run opening partnership.
Matthew Wade got going with a brace of boundaries off Pathirana but fell while trying to loft against Moeen Ali in the 12th over and mistimed to long-on. Two overs later, Pathirana got his second wicket when his off-cutter took the leading edge off Hardik Pandya's attempted flick and was caught by mid-on.
Saha, meanwhile, hanged around to reach his third fifty of the tournament off 42 balls and shared an unbeaten 37-run stand with David Miller to take them past the finishing line. Fittingly, it was Saha who hit the winning runs - guiding one past short third man off Pathirana.
Opting to bat, CSK lost opener Dewon Conway (5) in the third over as Mohammed Shami (2/19) gave Titans the first breakthrough. Shami's angled delivery from round the wicket moved away after pitching which Conway nicked it to Saha.
Gaikwad (53 off 49 balls) first forged a 57-run second wicket stand off 39 balls with Moeen (21 off 17; 2x6) and then added another 48-runs with Narayan Jagadeesan, who also struck an unbeaten 39 off 33 balls, for the third wicket.
CSK, however, suffered a middle-order collapse and could add only 24 runs in the last five overs.
Gaikwad, who hit four boundaries and a six, initially played with caution, as CSK crawled to 15/1 after four overs, as Pandya (0/8) and Shami did not give them a chance to free their arms.
Gaikwad then upped the ante in the fifth over, in which Yash Dayal leaked 15 runs. The right-handed batter was brutal on Dayal hammering him for two boundaries and a six over fine-leg.
In the next over, Moeen smashed two successive sixes off leg-spinner Rashid Khan (1/31), a pull and a sweep shot, as CSK added 17 runs of the sixth over and raced to 47/1 after the power-play.
Gaikwad played the odd shot even as he and Ali completed the 50-run stand for the second wicket in just 32 balls.
When it looked like the duo would score big, it was left-arm spinner R Sai Kishore (1/31), who broke the stand by removing Ali, who gave a sitter to Rashid at deep-mid-wicket, in the ninth over.
Jagadeesan started with a boundary, but the fall of wicket stemmed the flow of runs.
After 13 overs, CSK at 90/2, were set for a big-score.
Jagadeesan then launched into Sai Kishore (1/31), hitting him for a boundary and a maximum in the 15th over, where CSK amassed 13 runs.
But Titans pegged back CSK by removing Gaikwad, who was caught at deep mid-wicket and Shivam Dube (0) in quick succession as they slipped to 114/4.