Hardik Pandya puts on captain’s masterclass as Gujarat Titans go top of IPL

Hardik Pandya hit an impressive 95 not-out guiding Gujarat Titans to a hard-fought win over Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.
IPL Chennai Superkings
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Gujarat Titans have gone two points clear at the top of the IPL table after they defeated Rajasthan Royals by 37 runs at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai on Thursday. 

An all-around masterclass from Gujarat captain Hardik Pandya was the inspiration the Titans needed to set the Royals a target of 192 runs despite losing three early wickets.

Pandya hit 95 runs off 46 balls and briefly jumped ahead of Jos Buttler as the IPL’s top run-scorer but Buttler came back to reclaim the Orange Cap by striking a ferocious 54 runs off 24 balls half an hour later.

Pandya also showed his brilliance with the ball in hand, running out Royals’ captain Sanju Samson with a stunning piece of accuracy, before he caught and bowled all-rounder Jimmy Neesham, who came into the Rajasthan side as a late replacement for the injured Trent Boult.

With their star bowler absent, the Royals were outclassed in the field by their opponents, with Lockie Ferguson and debutant Yash Dayal each taking a trio of wickets to limit the Royals’ score to 155/9.

Ferguson also halted a rampaging Buttler, who had hit eight fours and three sixes, dismissing the Englishman with a superb yorker that struck Buttler’s off-stump and proved to be a pivotal wicket in the match.

Gujarat will now look to increase their lead at the top of the IPL table as they take on the reigning champions Chennai Super Kings on Sunday night.

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