Gujarat Titans skipper Hardik Pandya said he is a bowlers captain after his side beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by 34 runs in Match 62 of IPL 2023 at the Narendra Modi Stadium here and became the first team to qualify for the playoffs in the ongoing season.
Batting first, Shubman Gill sizzled with his maiden IPL ton (101 off 58), hitting 13 fours and a six and was ably supported by Sai Sudharsan 47(36) to help Gujarat Titans put on a competitive 188/9 after a lion-hearted Bhuvneshwar had picked up his second IPL fifer (5/31).
Mohd. Shami (4/21) then ripped through the SRH top order and Mohit Sharma (4/24) scythed through the middle-order as the away team overcame a fighting effort from Heinrich Klaasen (64 off 44) to restrict SRH to 154/9 and qualify for the play-offs on Monday night.
Defending champions Gujarat Titans still have a game to go, but with nine wins in 13 matches, they have already confirmed their spot in the top two.
"Very proud of the boys, two in two (making it to the playoffs twice in a row). The boys put their hands up and in challenging situations and we rightly deserve the playoff spot. There will be expectations and for me it was important to focus within the group," said Pandya at the post-match presentation.
"We ticked a lot of good boxes, we made a lot of errors but we were always there in the game and tried to stay consistent. Bowlers are very close to my heart. Sometimes batters take a lot of credit, for me I will always be a bowler's captain and ensure they get the due credit they very much deserve," he added.
Gujarat Titans will face Royal Challengers Bangalore in their last league match at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on May 21.
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