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Pacer Mohit Sharma made a stellar comeback to IPL with 2-18 and led a clinical bowling performance from Gujarat Titans in restricting Punjab Kings to 153/8 in IPL 2023 at the IS Bindra PCA Stadium on Thursday.
After having made only one appearance each in the 2019 and 2020 editions of the IPL, Mohit used his slower balls and tight lines to good effect to finish with 2-18 in four overs, while dismissing Jitesh Sharma and Sam Curran.
At the end of the Power-play, Punjab were cruising at 52/2. But Gujarat's bowlers brought them back by conceding only 42 runs in the middle overs and picking four wickets in the last five overs to keep Punjab to a below-par total on a pitch which looked good for batting.
Punjab suffered an early blow as Prabhsimran Singh fell for his second consecutive duck after flicking an inswinger from Mohammed Shami to mid-wicket. Matthew Short got going by striking Shami for back-to-back fours through the punch and pull shots.
Shikhar Dhawan looked majestic in slicing and driving Joshua Little through the off-side. But the left-arm pacer had the last laugh in the fourth over, as Dhawan danced down the pitch for a flick, but ended up skying to a backtracking mid-on.
Short looked glorious in driving Shami twice through cover, while glancing and pulling off Alzarri Joseph for four and six. He ended the Power-play by hammering a straight drive down the ground off Little. His pretty knock came to an end when he missed a googly coming from outside off-stump by Rashid Khan and saw the ball crashing into the middle and leg stumps.
With Bhanuka Rajapaksa not looking at his fluent best and Gujarat tightening the run-flow through consistent hitting of length balls, Jitesh Sharma used Rashid's pace to pull twice and paddle sweep once to get three boundaries. He welcomed Shami with a straight drive down the ground and survived an inside edge to get a brace of fours in the 12th over.
Jitesh fell in the 13th over off Mohit Sharma, as he missed a punch against a back-of-the-length ball which just moved away a little. Wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, who caught the ball and was the only one appealing, managed to convince captain Hardik Pandya to take a review, which showed a thin outside edge.
Four overs later, Rajapaksa's painful stay at the crease came to an end when he chipped a full toss from Joseph straight to deep mid-wicket. Sam Curran went for a high pull off an off-cutter from Mohit but found deep mid-wicket in the 19th over.
Shahrukh Khan got some cheer from the Mohali crowd by pulling Joseph over deep midwicket for six to get off the mark in style, before lofting a low full toss from Shami over long-on for the same result.
He ramped a slower one from Mohit over short third, before Harpreet Brar's straight six down the ground off Little took Punjab past 150, though Gujarat had Shahrukh and Rishi Dhawan run out in the final over.
Punjab Kings 153/8 in 20 overs (Matthew Short 36, Jitesh Sharma 25; Mohit Sharma 2-18, Rashid Khan 1-26) against Gujarat Titans