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Different players standing up at various times – Boult on RR’s victory

Prior to their first meeting in IPL 2023, Gujarat Titans and Rajasthan Royals had met three times, with the Hardik Pandya-led squad winning all three times – including the Qualifier 1 and final. Pandya and Miller had played vital roles in the three victories, and they were at it again in the Ahmedabad game on Sunday (April 16).

The Titans finished with a competitive 177/7, due to Miller’s 46 and valuable contributions from the other batsmen. They targeted the Royals spinners, as R Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Adam Zampa all went over 30 runs in their quota of overs, while Trent Boult was also costly. The Titans then put on a polished performance with the ball in the first half of the pursuit. The Royals were reduced to 55/4 in the 11th over thanks to crucial wickets from Mohammed Shami, Hardik Pandya, and Rashid Khan.

But the Royals mounted an incredible comeback. Shimron Hetmyer completed the chase with four deliveries to spare, scoring an undefeated 56 from 26 deliveries. Samson and Hetmyer combined for 11 sixes, 10 of which came in the second half of the chase, as the Royals came back to win their first game against the Titans.

“It was a significant victory.” The Titans have outnumbered us in that regard throughout history. Any game in which we come from behind and absorb some pressure, take the game deep, and come out on top is incredibly fulfilling. “There are some good vibes in the locker room, and it feels good to come out on the right side of the result,” remarked Boult after the game.

The Titans pacers hit the perfect lengths and made things difficult for the RR hitters, but they managed to stick in there and smash back, not succumbing to the pressure, according to Boult. “It’s difficult to pinpoint a specific moment in the game, but that’s the nature of T20 cricket – you’re never out of the game, and you just have to believe that you can win from anywhere.” With all of our team’s meetings and discussions about strategies, it was wonderful to get out there and put some of the material into play.

“Obviously, I thought they pulled it back very nicely with 12 overs of spin, and every over counts, but Sandy [Sandeep Sharma] closed that innings out nicely.” 175 [177], nice wicket, they bowled very well on it, showed us how to bowl with the lengths and there was some good swing on offer. Again, we basically absorbed everything and put ourselves in a situation where a couple of lines were crossed and it swung back to us.
“We have some very talented batters on our team, and I think the real plus is seeing different guys stand up at different times.” Jos [Buttler] is certainly a huge player for us, and I’m sure he’ll be disappointed that he didn’t get some runs tonight. But the ambition from the rest of the batting lineup to contribute is different at various times,” remarked Boult.

Noor Ahmad, an impact player from Afghanistan, had an expensive start but accounted for the important wicket of Samson, removing him in the 15th over to leave the Royals at 114/5. They needed 64 runs off the final five overs when Hetmyer unleashed himself, and with the support of Dhruv Jurel and R Ashwin, pushed the Royals – the line, smacking a six off Ahmad in the penultimate over.

Ahmad conceded only eight runs in the 17th over, but Alzarri Joseph, Shami, and Rashid combined for 49 runs in their three overs in the death. Vikram Solanki, the Titans’ director of cricket, defended the bowlers employed in the death overs and also backed Ahmad, who finished with 1-29 from 2.2 overs on debut.

“If you think about how Mohammed Shami bowled in his opening spell…Mohit Sharma was an option in the last four overs.” With seven runs to defend in the last over, it was critical to get a wicket. Noor broke the partnership for us and truly got us back in the game (by taking Samson’s wicket). He was amazing in my opinion. At that point, I believe it becomes a line call to see if he can take a wicket.

“I just thought it was a fantastic debut for Noor, to have taken that important wicket under pressure and come in and do what he did.” It says a lot about his personality. “And the fact that Hardik had the confidence in him to bowl him in those difficult phases speaks volumes about his confidence,” Solanki remarked.

It was the Titans’ second home defeat this season, following their earlier loss to the Kolkata Knight Riders. The setback was disappointing for Solanki, but he told his fans that the team will make them proud.

“There is an element of winning and losing in games, but we are extremely grateful to the fans who come out to support us.” I believe we have given them something to be proud of in the past, and we will continue to work hard to guarantee that they have a team to be proud of in the future. We put in a lot of effort. Yes, it’s a loss, and we’re unhappy that we weren’t on the winning side of the result today. “We will evaluate every aspect of this game, just as we have with our wins and losses,” Solanki added.Different players standing up at various times – Boult on RR’s victory


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