Lucknow Super Giants captain KL Rahul’s dogged chase fell just short in a nail-biting seven-run IPL defeat to the Gujarat Titans on Saturday.
Rahul (68 off 61 balls) and his opposite number Hardik Pandya (66 off 50) both made quick half-centuries to prop up their respective innings in the low-scoring captains’ duel.
Veteran Mohit Sharma took two wickets and facilitated two run-outs as the home side dramatically crashed in the final over on 128-7.
Gujarat had earlier opted to bat on a slow and low wicket and their 135-6 was testament to Pandya’s sharp execution.
Shubman Gill was out for a duck off his second ball, but Pandya propelled Gujarat forward with four sixes before Marcus Stoinis sent him back in the final over.
Proteas batsman David Miller made just six off 12 balls.
Rahul started the chase slowly after earning the dubious distinction of becoming the first opener in IPL history to play out two first-over maidens in consecutive innings.
But he soon put paid to recent chatter on his lagging strike rate, reaching his half-century off 38 balls.
The dismissal of fellow opener Kyle Mayers hit the brakes and Rahul failed to add to the eight boundaries he had already struck.
Only 18 runs followed off his next 23 balls, sucking the momentum out of Lucknow’s innings despite a formidable 23 from Hardik’s brother Krunal.
Rahul was still at the crease with 12 needed as the final over began but he was dramatically caught out at square leg off the second ball.
Stoinis was out for a duck the next ball and Lucknow then suffered back-to-back run-outs as they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
© Agence France-Presse