Aakash Chopra has highlighted that the Gujarat Titans' (GT) stand-in skipper Rashid Khan's match-winning cameo came as a surprise for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Sunday's IPL 2022 encounter.
Khan smashed 40 runs off 21 balls and strung together a 70-run sixth-wicket partnership with David Miller, helping the Titans chase down the 170-run target with a ball to spare. His stunning assault in the 18th over bowled by Chris Jordan turned the match in the Ahmedabad-based franchise's favor.
Chopra reflected on the Gujarat Titans' run chase in a video shared on his YouTube channel. He said the following about Miller and Khan's match-defining partnership:
"When Tewatia got out, I said over. But there David Miller and Rashid Khan, they made an amazing comeback. Rashid Khan came as an out-of-syllabus question, he scores runs with the bat. Chris Jordan was destroyed."
While observing that the Titans got off to a disastrous start, the cricketer-turned-commentator questioned Vijay Shankar's place in their playing XI. He said:
"When they start, Shubman Gill was out in the first over, I was shocked. Vijay Shankar came at No. 3 and he was also out for zero. Please play Sai Sudarshan, whatever he played was good. Vijay Shankar is playing as a pure batter but is not scoring runs."
Chopra pointed out that the Gujarat Titans were almost done and dusted after losing a flurry of wickets at the start of their innings. He explained:
"Abhinav Manohar was sent to bat at No. 4. He hits a few shots and then he also gets out. When Wriddhiman Saha was out, it seemed the situation is out of control. Rahul Tewatia was playing cautiously, which was not going to work out."
The Gujarat Titans were reduced to a score of 48/4 at the end of the eighth over. They then lost Rahul Tewatia's wicket in the 13th over before Miller and Khan's blitzkrieg helped them register an unlikely win.
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"It was a very good start for Gujarat Titans" - Aakash Chopra on CSK losing early wickets
Speaking about CSK's batting effort, Aakash Chopra highlighted that Ruturaj Gaikwad finally came good with the bat after the Titans had gained the initial ascendancy. He elaborated:
"Robin Uthappa and Moeen Ali were dismissed, so it was a very good start for Gujarat Titans. But then Ruturaj Gaikwad came and shone. He batted very well and showed that time changes if you give it time. That's something you need to get it right, he starts the season slowly and catches pace after that and then doesn't stop."
The 44-year-old concluded by observing that CSK seemed to have reached a winning score. He reasoned:
"Ambati Rayudu was promoted, he scored runs. Later Jaddu (Jadeja) hit fours and sixes, Shivam Dube was there with him and overall you reached a defendable total because Hardik Pandya was not there in the opposition."
David Miller and Rashid Khan ensured that the Gujarat Titans didn't feel Hardik Pandya's absence in the batting department. The duo's blazing efforts helped the Titans register their fifth win of IPL 2022 and consolidated their position at the top of the IPL points table 2022.
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