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Gujarat Titans make winning start to IPL defence

Newsday Reporter Alzarri Joseph took two wickets on Friday as IPL champs Gujarat Titans began their defence with a win against Chennai Super Kings. - Gujarat Titans
Alzarri Joseph took two wickets on Friday as IPL champs Gujarat Titans began their defence with a win against Chennai Super Kings. - Gujarat Titans

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat Titans began their Indian Premier League title defence by beating Chennai Super Kings by five wickets at the possible cost of star batsman Kane Williamson on Friday.

Chennai opener Ruturaj Gaekwad made a fluent 92 off 50 balls in their 178-7.

Shubman Gill led Gujarat's run chase with 63 off 36 balls and, despite three wickets on his IPL debut by 20-year-old fast bowler Rajvardhan Hangargekar, the home team cruised to 182-5 in 19.2 overs.

“We were very happy with 178 because at one point they looked like going past 200,” Gujarat skipper Hardik Pandya said. “My shot (out) and Shubman’s shot put the team in a difficult position. We have some standards inside the dressing room. We have to finish the games, and not Rash (Rashid Khan) and Rahul (Tewatia) all the time.”

Williamson hurt his right knee while attempting a difficult catch on the edge of the boundary and left the field in obvious pain.

In his absence, Gujarat replaced him with their impact player pick Sai Sudharsan, who scored 22 off 17 balls.

Chennai's impact player also made little difference. Fast bowler Tushar Deshpande shared the new ball after replacing Ambati Raydu, and returned expensive figures of 1-51. In the last over, Tewatia finished the game with a six and a straight boundary. Rashid Khan was unbeaten on ten from a six and a four.

Gaekwad smashed three sixes against Gujarat's Alzarri Joseph in his first over and was solid against the legspin of Rashid.

However, Rashid bagged Moeen Ali (23) and Ben Stokes (7) in successive overs.

Raydu struggled for a run-a-ball 12 before he was clean bowled by Josh Little as Chennai slipped to 121-4 in the 13th over.

Gaekwad, after nine sixes and four boundaries, missed out on a deserved century when Joseph's full toss was sliced and gave an easy catch at long-on in the 18th over. Joseph was brilliant at the death when he didn’t concede a boundary in his return spell of three overs and gave up only 15 runs.

“Another 15-20 runs would have been good,” Chennai skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said. “We could have batted properly in the middle overs as opposed to trying to muscle the ball.”

Gujarat scored at nine an over at the midpoint of its innings, with Gill adding 53 runs with Sudharsan for the second wicket. Gill departed in the 15th over when he mistimed a pull and holed out at midwicket.

Summarised Scores: Chennai Super Kings 178/7 (Raturaj Gaikwad 92, Rashid Khan 2-26, Mohammed Shami 2-29, Alzarri Joseph 2/33) vs Gujarat Titans 182/ 5 (Shubman Gill 63, Rajvardhan Hangargekar 3-36).