David Miller played a ballistic knock of 68 from 38 balls and captain Hardik Pandya's 40 off 27 balls guided debutants Gujarat Titans to a seven-wicket win over the inaugural champions Rajasthan Royals at the Eden Gardens here on Tuesday.
GT have made it to the finals in their first foray into the tournament. Chasing a challenging 189-run target, Gujarat Titans got off to the worst possible start losing Wriddhiman Saha for a duck off two balls of Trent Boult's bowling, caught behind by captain and wicket-keeper Sanju Samson. Matthew Wade then joined opener Shubman Gill and the duo took GT's total beyond the 50-run mark in 5.1 overs to notch up a 50-run partnership in just 29 balls. The partnership carried on as both the batters batted aggressively.
The 72-run partnership was broken as Gill was run out by Devdutt Padikkal and Shimron Hetmyer for 35 off 21 balls. Left-arm medium-pacer Obed McCoy provided RR with the third breakthrough dismissing Wade for 35 off 30 balls. Captain Hardik Pandya and David Miller joined hands and took Gujarat's total beyond the triple-figure mark in 10.4 overs. Pandya-Miller pair notched up 50-partnership in just 32 balls. The inaugural champions Rajasthan Royals tried to break the partnership but failed to do so as GT reached the 150-run mark in 16.1 overs. David Miller went on to score his half-century off 35 balls. Pandya-Miller went on to score a 100-run partnership. In the last over, Gujarat Titans needed 16 runs to win the match and Miller hammered Prasidh Krishna for three sixes off the first three balls to register a seven-wicket win and become the first team to enter the final.
Earlier in the day in-form Englishman batter Jos Buttler smashed 89 off 56 balls while skipper Sanju Samson played a good hand of 47 runs off 26 balls for Rajasthan Royals. Mohammed Shami, Yash Dayal, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, and Hardik Pandya scalped one wicket each for Gujarat Titans. Put in to bat first, Rajasthan Royals had a decent start as their score read 55/1 after the powerplay.
The first wicket of the night fell in the 2nd over. Yash Dayal removed Yashasvi Jaiswal after the RR opener drove the ball to the bounce and nicked it to the keeper Wriddhiman Saha. Sanju Samson then joined opener Jos Buttler on the crease as the duo started clocking runs for Rajasthan. On the second last ball of the 10th over, skipper Sanju departed after Sai Kishore got the better of him for 47.
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Devdutt Padikkal was then removed by GT skipper Hardik Pandya in the 15th over while Mohammad Shami dismissed Shimron Hetmyer in the penultimate over. Amid falling wickets, Buttler continued smashing GT bowlers out of the park. Jos Buttler ended up with 89 off 57 as 58 come off the last four to take RR to 188. It took till the last ball of the 19th over for Jos Buttler to get his first six. Brief Scores: Rajasthan Royals 188/6 in 20 overs (Jos Buttler 89, Sanju Samson 47; Hardik Pandya 1-14) vs Gujarat Titans 191/3 in 19.3 overs (David Miller 68*, Hardik Pandya 40*; Trent Boult 1/38).