IANS

B Sai Sudharsan smashed his second successive half-century of IPL 2023 while Vijay Shankar slammed a sensational 63 not out as the duo's efforts took Gujarat Titans to a massive 204/4 against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Narendra Modi Stadium here on Sunday.

After making an unbeaten 62 against Delhi Capitals in a chase of 163, Sudharsan was pristine in his 53 off 38 balls. But it was Shankar's unbeaten 24-ball onslaught in the last two overs, which produced 45 runs, that got Gujarat past 200. He hit two fours and as many sixes off Lockie Ferguson, before smashing a hat-trick of sixes off Shardul Thakur in the final over.

Gujarat were slow to begin in Power-play, with Shubman Gill and Wriddhiman Saha getting a boundary each off Shardul Thakur in the second over. Saha went on to loft Umesh Yadav and Ferguson over extra cover for a four each.

But in a bid to go big against Sunil Narine in the fifth over, he top-edged a slog sweep, and N Jagadeesan ran backwards towards deep mid-wicket to take a brilliant over-the-shoulder catch.

After Sudharsan got off the mark with a late cut against Narine for four, Gill continued to be pristine with two successive driven fours off Varun Chakaravarthy in the sixth over. Gill and Sudharsan attacked the spinners and gave a push to Gujarat's score.

While Gill used his feet to loft Narine and Suyash Sharma for boundaries, Sudharsan was superb in holding his shape to loft Suyash down the ground for a four, followed by coming-down-the-pitch loft off Narine and Chakaravarthy for a brace of sixes.

Gill tried to loft Narine in the 12th over but holed out to long-on. Abhinav Manohar began his promotion to number four by hitting three consecutive fours through cut, loft and pull off Umesh. But his innings was cut short by a deceptive googly from Suyash, which spun back to beat the inside edge and crashed into the stumps through the gate.

Sudharsan pulled Thakur through mid-wicket for four, before getting his fifty in 34 balls. But in the 18th over, he fell after holing out to long-off against Narine.

Shankar provided for the finishing touches in the 19th over, as he top-edged on his pull off Ferguson went for six. He followed it up by flaying a wide delivery over short third man for four and ended the 25-run over with a clean loft over long-off for six.

The right-hander notched up his fifty in 21 balls with a pulled six off Thakur in the final over and followed it up with successive sixes coming off a clean loft and smash over long-on to take Gujarat above 200.

Brief scores:

Gujarat Titans 204/4 in 20 overs (B Sai Sudharsan 53, Vijay Shankar 63 not out; Sunil Narine 3-33, Suyash Sharma 1-35) against Kolkata Knight Riders

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