Gujarat Titans 144 for 4 (Gill 63*, Avesh 2-26) beat Lucknow Super Giants 82 (Rashid Khan 4-24) by 62 runs
Gujarat Titans booked their spot in the playoffs in their first IPL season by comfortably defending 144 on a spinning pitch in Pune as Lucknow Super Giants collapsed to 82 all out.
The IPL's newest franchises knew that the winner of Monday night's game would officially seal a spot in the playoffs as well as taking big strides towards a top-two finish, and the game looked in the balance after Titans posted the joint-lowest total batting first this season in Pune while losing only four wickets in a curious innings. Shubman Gill
batted through the 20 overs for 63 not out off 49 balls as Titans focused on keeping wickets in hand and rotating strike after choosing to bat, but the value of his innings only became fully apparent when Super Giants crumbled against spin in the chase.
and R Sai Kishore - the left-arm spinner from Tamil Nadu on debut for Titans - finished with combined figures of 6 for 31 from 5.5 overs as they ran through Super Giants' middle and lower order. The convincing margin between the teams dented Super Giants' net run rate and left them looking over their shoulder at Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore, with their hopes of a top-two finish - and qualification for the first qualifier - taking a significant blow.
Titans eye singles, not boundaries
Hardik Pandya became the first captain this season to choose to bat in a night game against Punjab Kings last Monday and did the same again a week on, suggesting that the success of teams when batting first in Pune had played a role in his decision-making.
His side got off to a slow start, reaching 35 for 2 after the powerplay with the two Khans - Mohsin and Avesh - each taking an early wicket. Mohsin could have had a second - which would have seen Gill dismissed first ball - but Karan Sharma put down a tough chance diving forwards at deep third man at the end of the first over.
Hardik set about rebuilding with Gill but fell immediately after the strategic timeout, edging Avesh behind, and with Rashid carded at No. 7, Titans were cautious in their approach. They opted to rebuild by knocking the ball around rather than playing with much attacking intent, and David Miller's six over cover was the only one of their innings. Krunal Pandya, who had bowled a solitary over in Super Giants' last two games, rolled through his four overs for 24 runs; with Ravi Bishnoi dropped, he was the only spinner they used.
The 61 singles they hit were the joint-third most in an innings this season, with Gill alone hitting 31 of them. Miller and Gill put on 52 in 41 balls, while Rahul Tewatia's cameo - after he was dropped by Deepak Hooda - and Jason Holder's expensive final over of 16 runs ensured Titans reached a score that looked somewhere near par.
, the left-arm fast bowler from Uttar Pradesh, had not played for Titans since their win against Sunrisers Hyderabad, missing their last three games with a niggle, but returned as Titans reshuffled their side, leaving out Lockie Ferguson, Sai Sudharsan and Pradeep Sangwan for Dayal, Kishore and Matthew Wade.
Dayal struck twice in the powerplay, having Quinton de Kock and Karan caught at cover point and deep third respectively, and was unfortunate to concede 24 runs, with 10 of them coming from false shots immediately before he dismissed those two batters. With Mohammad Shami banging away on a hard length and inducing a top-edged pull from KL Rahul once the pressure burst the pipe, Titans had taken three wickets in the powerplay.
Rashid rolls through
Super Giants had shown few signs of vulnerability against spin to date but crumbled against Rashid and Kishore on what Rahul called "a tricky and challenging pitch", which offered plenty of assistance for spinners throughout.
They were 44 for 3 when Rashid came on to bowl the eighth over but were 70 for 9 after the first ball of the 14th. The first two wickets were stumpings by Wriddhiman Saha: Krunal was foxed by a googly and overbalanced, while Ayush Badoni found himself halfway down the pitch as Kishore tossed one up and beat him in the flight.
Hooda, Marcus Stoinis and Jason Holder were Super Giants' last hopes, but Hooda called Stoinis through for an impossible second run and left him stranded mid-pitch as Miller's throw came in from square leg, and Holder was trapped stone-dead by a fast, flat legbreak from Rashid.
Kishore grabbed another as Mohsin fell to a wild heave before Hooda fell top-edging off Rashid. Avesh's consecutive sixes denied Rashid a hat-trick and took some of the shine off his figures but a sharp take by Saha via a thin inside edge ensured he finished with 4 for 24 - remarkably, the first time in his 88-match IPL career that he had taken a four-wicket haul
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98