Match Report – GT vs PBKS 17th Match, April 04, 2024

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Punjab Kings 200 for 7 (Shashank 61*, Noor 2-32) beat Gujarat Titans 199 for 4 (Gill 89, Rabada 2-44) by three wickets

Punjab Kings had only a 9% chance of victory even as late as the 17th over of the chase. That too was the result of Shashank Singh being out there one short of a fifty. This was the guy whom his own team had tried to offload almost immediately after buying him at the auction last year. The franchise eventually sent out a tweet in clarification, which the player replied to, hoping to shut the stories that were swirling around. Tonight, Kings and their purchase came good facing impossible odds.

Shashank hit 10 of the 29 balls he faced to the boundary. He was carting around former IPL champions. Rashid Khan, launched over midwicket, Umesh Yadav, helped over fine leg, Noor Ahmad skewered over long-off, Mohit Sharma, even when he tried to go pace off and into the wicket, ramped over the keeper. These were unbelievable shots, because they came from a place where victory was only fantasy.

Kings only had two batters among their five substitutes in a bowling first XI. It looked a lopsided selection. But the man they chose as the Impact Sub played a massive role in their victory. Ashutosh Sharma, playing his first game of the season, and only the 15th T20 of his career, looked at an equation that read 41 off 18 balls square in the eye and took it down with brutal precision. He hit three fours in Azmatullah Omarzai’s 18th over. Another six to start the 19th from Mohit. In those 12 balls, the Kings got 34 runs. In those 12 balls, the Kings’ chance of victory rose from 9.23% to 94.56%.

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