Sudharsan saves Titans the blushes with maiden half ton

Rookie batter Sai Sudharsan stood tall amidst the ruins with a maiden half-century as table toppers Gujarat Titans stuttered their way to 143-8 against Punjab Kings at the DY Patil Stadium here on Tuesday.

At the time of going to press, Punjab were 43-1 in six overs.

Rabada claims four

Sudharsan, 20, who came in at the fall of the first wicket, remained unconquered on 65 in 50 balls and struck five fours and a solitary six. The next best score was notched by opener-’keeper Wriddhiman Saha (21) as the Punjab bowlers stuck to their task well with Kagiso Rabada being the pick of the lot with excellent figures of 4-33 which included two wickets in successive deliveries.

The only partnership of note came when Sudharsan, who mostly played orthodox shots, and Rahul Tewatia (11) put on 45 runs in 36 balls for the fifth wicket to prop up the floundering innings.

Opting to bat first on winning the toss, Titans made a slow start barring one expensive over from Rabada while also losing both their openers Shubman Gill and Saha within the first four overs. A brilliant piece of fielding by Rishi Dhawan, who hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end from short extra cover, sent back Gill for nine in the third over after he had hit Rabada for successive fours to the fine leg area in the previous over in which Saha also struck the South African speedster for a handsome straight-driven four.

Saha departed trying to loft Rabada for the second six off the next ball after hoisting him over long on. He put up a tame catch to mid-off fielder Mayank Agarwal, the Punjab Kings captain, for 21 made in 17 balls.

Hardik departs early

Titans lost their in-form skipper Hardik Pandya for one just after Powerplay ended as he feathered a catch to wicketkeeper Jitesh Sharma off Dhawan in the bowler’s first over with 44 on the board.

David Miller and Sudharsan then joined forces, ran swiftly between the wickets but after 10 overs the score was just 62 for three.

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