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CSK vs GT: How Gujarat Titans choked CSK’s run flow in the slog overs

Mumbai,  Chennai Super Kings were cruising along at 109 for 2 after 15 overs in the game against Gujarat Titans, and looking to unleash their batting might in the slog over at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday. But just then the Hardik Pandya-led side applied the skids on Mahandra Singh Dhoni’s side, choking them and restricting the four-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions to just 133 runs.

Even though CSK are out of reckoning for a playoffs berth, they were looking to make a match out of it by scoring at a fast clip and set a target in the vicinity of 165-170. But meticulous bowling plans and clinical execution — with GT bowlers not conceding a single boundary in the last five overs — resulted in CSK returning another poor score.

With Ruturaj Gaikwad batting on 51 (45 balls), and Dhoni and Shivam Dube waiting to bat, it caught the CSK fans by surprise that their team couldn’t hit a single boundary in the last five overs, with only 24 runs scored and three wickets lost.

Call it the death-overs master-class by the newbies or their perfect execution, it rendered CSK batters toothless on Sunday.

“Our bowling plans have been really specific,” said Gary Kirsten, Gujarat Titans’ batting coach-cum-mentor.

“Ashish (Nehra), I think, has done a great job in making sure he’s put together a really strong bowling unit, with good experience in it. But also Yash Dayal is an incredibly talented young player, and I think to have a left-armer in your bowling attack that can bowl across the 20 overs, is really, really important,” opined the former South African opener, who was also in contention for the England Test coaching job before the role went to KKR head coach Brendon McCullum.

“So this was a great opportunity for us to use him (Dayal) in the 19th over, where there is a little bit of pressure. He’s done it before for us in the tournament. It was a long boundary on one side of the field so he could take advantage of that. And he bowled a great over, went for eight. So that’s real confidence for him.”

It was then left to India pace bowling stalwart Mohd Shami to finish things off. He had already started brilliantly in powerplay, and needed to ensure there was no last-over surge by CSK. And he did the job to perfection.

The only blemish in Gujarat’s bowling on Sunday was when spinner Rashid Khan came in to bowl the final powerplay over and was clouted for two sixes. But despite the 17-run over, skipper Pandya didn’t lose faith in his slow bowler, who bowled two out of the last five overs — the 16th and 18th. He conceded a total of seven runs in those two overs and also took a wicket, while West Indian pacer Alzarri Joseph was brought in to bowl the 17th over. Joseph bounced out Shivam Dube, and allowed only two scoring shots, for a single and a two.

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