Mohammad Shami’s devastating bowling on Monday night helped Gujarat Titans make their IPL debut on a winning note against Lucknow Super Giants.
Batting first, Lucknow Super Giants made 158-6 in their quota of 20 overs. Lucknow Super Giants, one of the two new IPL franchises added to the competition this year along with Gujarat Titans, were reduced to 29-4 in 4.3 overs. However debutant Ayush Bodani and Deepak Hooda batted superbly to rebuild the innings as they added 113 runs for the fifth wicket. Bodani made 54 in his debut IPL match, while Hooda was out for 55.
The tormentor-in-chief for Lucknow was Shami, who picked up three wickets in his quota of four overs.
Gujarat Titans achieved the target by losing just five wickets with four balls to spare. Rahul Tewatia, the top scorer for his side, remained unbeaten at 40. Skipper Hardik Pandya made 33, while Mathew Wade chipped in with 30.
Lucknow was being captained by KL Rahul, who led Punjab Kings until last year.
Shami, who was declared Player Of The Match, later said, “I was warmed up well. It was important to get a good start in the first match, I looked to bowl a Test-match line and length here. I have worked very hard on this seam position. I try to come round the wicket to a leftie and make that angle because that’s the most uncomfortable thing for them. Hardik asked me if I wanted the fourth over on the trot, but I told him to hold me back.”
A visibly ecstatic Pandya said after the match, “This was the right game for us to be on either side and learn, but have learnt a lot by winning. Shami is known for his seam positions and he got us to a great start. We would have any day taken 160 on this wicket. Mostly I’ll bat at number four, because I want to take pressure with my experience so that the others can play freely. Manohar is some talent and he is someone who you are going to hear about in the future. Tewatia was sensational as well. Getting out to Krunal would have pinched me more had we lost, but now the family is neutral and happy. He got me out and we won the match.”
Rahul, for his part, added, “It was a phenomenal game to start the campaign. Starting off like that with the bat was not ideal but the way we recovered was phenomenal. It gives us so much confidence when the batters in the middle and lower order can do the job. There is so much to take away and learn for us. With the way we finished and batted in the second half we gave ourselves a chance. Good win for them and good learning for us.”