Day 3 of IPL 2022 saw the two new franchises Lucknow Super Giants and Gujrat Titans lock horns. Gujarat Titans emerged winners in a thriller that went right down to the wire.

Game 4

Gujarat Titans 161 for 5 (Tewatia 40*, Pandya 33, Chameera 2/22) beat Lucknow Super Giants 158 for 6 (Hooda 55, Badoni 54, Shami 3/25)

The idea behind the IPL mega auction this year was to evenly distribute the wealth of talent between the various teams and give the two new teams an opportunity to put together a strong side. Looking at the talent on display in today’s match it looks like that idea has definitely been well executed.

For the fourth game in a row the captain winning the toss opted to field first and for the fourth game in a row the captain winning the toss also won the game.

Opening the bowling for the Titans man of the match Shami produced a dream spell. He ran in hard, looked in good rhythm, bowled with good pace, the seam was bolt upright and he troubled all the Lucknow batters. In three magnificent overs Shami rocked the Super Giants top order picking up 3 wickets and giving away only 10 runs.

At 29 for 4 the Super Giants were in series trouble but Deepak Hooda and rookie Ayush Badoni first consolidated and then counter attacked in fine fashion to stage a comeback. Last year was a tough one for Deepak Hooda. After an ugly spat with Baroda captain Krunal Pandya he left the Baroda Ranji team and joined Rajasthan. Scoring heavily in domestic tournaments he got picked to play for India earlier this year and has been in terrific form since. His 55 of 41 balls along with Badoni’s 54 not out of 41 balls were instrumental in the Super Giants putting on a fighting total of 158 on the board.

The Super Giants innings also saw the return of Hardik Pandya the bowler and although he went wicket less and gave 37 off his four overs it was great to see him running in hard and bowling at good pace. A Hardik Pandya who bowls at full tilt is extremely important for team India at the T20 world cup in Australia later this year.

In the run chase the Super Giants struck a couple of early blows. The supremely talented Shubhman Gill had a brain fade moment and lost his wicket trying to play an ugly shot. Wade and Hardik then consolidated for a while but just when it looked like they would run away with the game older brother got younger brother. Yes, Krunal & Hardik the Pandya brothers have been separated this year and today senior Pandya got the better of junior.

As has been the case in every match so far the dew settled in and made life difficult for the bowlers. Still the Super Giants kept the scoring in check and also picked up crucial wickets. In the end it required special cameos from Rahul Tewatia and another rookie Abhinav Manohar to take the Titans home. Rahul Tewatia was purchased this year by the Titans for INR 9 crores and many people questioned the logic behind spending so much money on him. His match winning performance today should silence all those questions for the moment at least.

A final word on Krunal Pandya and Deepak Hooda. After their ugly public spat last year them playing in the same IPL side was always going to raise eyebrows. But it was heartening to see that both of them seem to have put the past behind them and were genuinely enjoying each other’s success. This is just another great example of how sport unites and brings people together.