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Shashank Singh rescues Punjab Kings after Gill’s half-century

Punjab went through a mini collapse as Prabhsimran (35) and Sam Curran (5) fell in quick succession. However, Shashank Singh stood his ground to keep Punjab in the contest.

Shashank SinghCHENNAI: Shubman Gill led from the front with a sensational 89 not out, but Shashank Singh’s stellar performance of 61 helped Punjab Kings register their second win of the IPL on Thursday in Ahmedabad.

In the chase of 199, English opener Jonny Bairstow started with three boundaries off Azmatullah Omarzai’s first over, that joy was momentary as Shikhar Dhawan chopped on facing the first ball of Umesh Yadav. Prabhsimran Singh and Bairstow posed a counter-attack, but the introduction of Afghan spinner Noor Ahmad broke the budding partnership. Baristow completely misjudged the delivery and got bowled for 22. Punjab finished the powerplay with 54 for two.

Punjab went through a mini collapse as Prabhsimran (35) and Sam Curran (5) fell in quick succession. However, Shashank Singh stood his ground to keep Punjab in the contest. Zimbabwe allrounder Sikandar Raza could not add much to the total and was dismissed on 15 to reduce Punjab to 119 for five after 13. With 81 runs from 42 deliveries, Shashank kept his cool to get at least one boundary per over. Hard-hitting Jitsh Sharma joined him in the middle and made the most of his short stay by smashing two sixes off Rashid Khan. Punjab’s introduction of Ashutosh Sharma as an impact player played dividends as the youngster and Shashank added 34 runs in the 18th and 19th over. Sharma got out in the last over, but Punjab held their nerve to win the match by three wickets.

Earlier, put into bat first, Titans started off well with Gill lofting Harpreet Brar down the ground for a six in the very first over. Wriddhiman Saha, too, clipped Arshdeep Singh to get things going as Titans were going at 10 runs per over. That is when Saha got a leading edge off Kagiso Rabada, leaving Gill with Kane Williamson.

Both known for their strokeplay rather than hitting, Williamson and Gill kept the scoreboard moving without many big hits. While the Titans skipper maintained a healthy strike rate, Williamson took some time to settle in as they finished the powerplay with 52/1.

Joined by B Sai Sudharsan, after Williamson’s wicket, Gill continued the momentum. The left-hander was proactive with his strokes, going after Sikandar Raza and Sam Curran. In Raza’s second over, they put the foot down and hit the Zimbabwe all-rounder for 14 runs. Rabada, too, was not spared as both Gill and Sai Sudharsan hit him down the ground.

When it looked like both would get to their respective fifties, Sai Sudharsan got out to Harshal Patel for a 19-ball 33. Gill, however, brought up his first half-century of the season in 31 balls. Despite a tidy 16th over from Arshdeep, Gill unleashed an onslaught against Harshal smacking him down the ground for the six. When Rabada came back, Gill welcomed him with a tonk over the cow corner and then slapped the pacer down the ground for a four.

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