IPL 2022, Qualifier 1: Gujarat Titans beat Rajasthan Royals by 7 wickets to reach final
David Miller of Gujarat Titans hitting a six during the Qualifier 1 of the Tata Indian Premier League 2022 against Rajasthan Royals at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on May 24, 2022.Saikat Das/IPL

IPL 2022, Qualifier 1: Gujarat Titans beat Rajasthan Royals by 7 wickets to reach final

Kolkata, May 24, 2022

Gujarat Titans produced a clinical all-round performance to thrash Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets in Qualifier 1 of IPL 2022 to reach the final of the tournament in their debut season at the iconic Eden Gardens here on Tuesday.

A fighting fifty by Jos Buttler (89 off 56) and Sanju Samson's attacking knock (47 off 26) powered Rajasthan Royals to 188/6 in 20 overs. Apart from Buttler and Samson, Devdutt Padikkal (28 off 20) also made a valuable contribution with the bat for Rajasthan, after they were invited to bat first.

Hardik Pandya (1/14), Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore (1/43), Mohammed Shami (1/43) and Yash Dayal (1/46) were the wicket-takers for Gujarat Titans.

In reply, Shubman Gill (35 off 21) Matthew Wade (35 off 30) played solid knocks and kept Gujarat alive in the run chase. However, once they got out, Gujarat were in some sort of trouble.

But David Miller (68 not out off 38) and skipper Hardik Pandya (40 not out off 27) batted sensibly and stitched an unbeaten partnership of 106 runs and led Gujarat to an impressive 7-wicket win with three balls to spare.

Trent Boult (1/38) and Obed McCoy (1/40) were the only wicket-takers for Gujarat.

Batting first, Rajasthan lost the wicket of Yashasvi Jaiswal of the last ball of the second over of the innings. Jaiswal, after a painful 8-ball 3, nicked a wide Yash Dayal delivery through to the keeper and then walked despite the umpire not hearing anything.

Samson, who came to bat next, got off the mark in style, hitting a six off the very first ball he faced. The stylish batter was in fine touch and kept hitting boundaries at regular intervals. Watching his batting partner bat with positive intent, Buttler was happy to play second fiddle as Rajasthan finished the powerplay with 55/1.

However, Gujarat spinners Rashid Khan and Sai Kishore pulled things back for their team as they bowled the next three overs with discipline. With the run-rate going a bit down, Samson (47 off 26) decided to target inexperienced Sai Kishore but he ended up falling to him in the 10th over.

Left-handed Padikkal, who came to bat after Samson's wicket, showed positive intent in the middle by hitting Sai Kishore for a couple of sixes, while Buttler was struggling to get going from the other end.

It was skipper Hardik Pandya who got the next wicket for Gujarat by removing Padikkal, who tried to pull the ball but ended up dragging it to his stumps. Soon, Rashid Khan completed his tidy spell of 4 overs by giving just 15 runs.

With Buttler on 39 off 38 and Shimron Hetmyer, who had played very few balls, at the other end, Rajasthan were 127/3 in 16 overs. And, it seemed Gujarat would restrict them to a below-par total but Buttler had other plans.

Buttler, after starting off aggressively and then stagnating in the middle overs, finally found some timing. The luck also began to favour him as Hardik and Rashid dropped the England cricketer at different stages. Buttler opened out in a big way towards the end as in the last 4 overs Gujarat dropped catches and did misfields under the pressure.

Despite Hetmyer's wicket in the 19th over, Buttler continued his assault by smashing the ball all over the park. Overall, the last 4 overs produced 60 runs as Rajasthan Royals finished with 188-6 on the board.

Brief scores: Rajasthan Royals 188/6 in 20 Overs (Jos Buttler 89, Sanju Samson 47; Hardik Pandya 1/14) lost to Gujarat Titans 191/3 in 19.3 Overs (David Miller 68 not out, Hardik Pandya 40 not out; Trent Boult 1/38) by 7 wickets

IANS

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