Batting first after winning the toss, Gujarat were held to 135/6 in their 20 overs. Lucknow were then restricted to 128/7. With five overs to go, LSG were in the driver’s seat, needing 30 off 30 balls with eight wickets in hand. KL Rahul was batting on 58. What happened after that was pretty much unbelievable.
Nicholas Pooran top-edged a slog sweep off Noor Ahmad for 1 off 7 balls. The equation was then 17 off 12 balls. Mohammed Shami conceded only five runs in the penultimate over. LSG then suffered a massive blow as Rahul (68 off 61) mistimed a pull off Mohit Sharma. Marcus Stoinis (0) was out first ball. Ayush Badoni (8) and Deepak Hooda (0) were then run out as LSG lost four wickets in four balls to kick themselves in the foot.
With the bat, skipper Hardik Pandya top-scored for Gujarat with 66 off 50 balls, while Wriddhiman Saha scored 47 off 37. Shubman Gill (0), Abhinav Manohar (3), Vijay Shankar (10) and David Miller (6), however, struggled to make a contribution. For Lucknow, Krunal Pandya (2/16) and Stoinis (2/20) came up with impressive bowling performances, while Naveen-ul-Haq (1/19) was economical.
Speaking after losing the game in stunning fashion, LSG skipper Rahul commented, “I don't know how it happened, but it has happened. I can't put a finger on where it went wrong, but we lost 2 points today, this is cricket. I thought we were brilliant with the ball, 135 was 10 runs under par, the bowling was exceptional, we started well with the bat, but these things happen, we'll have to take it on the chin. But still a long way to go, 8 points off 7 games, we were on the wrong side of the result today.”
On his own innings, he said he wanted to bat deep and play his strokes, but credited GT for some very good bowling at the death. Rahul added, “We were well ahead in the game and I wasn't really trying to bat deep, I still wanted to play my shots, take on the bowlers, but they bowled well in that 2-3 over period, by Noor and Jayant, we perhaps should have taken a few more chances with wickets in hand, they bowled decently, but I think we missed out on some boundary opportunities, the pressure got to us in the last 3-4 overs.”
--By A Cricket Correspondent