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Vijay Shankar Is More Fitter, Confident: GT Skipper Hardik Pandya After Win vs KKR


Following his side’s seven-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in their Indian Premier League (IPL) match, Gujarat Titans skipper Hardik Pandya lauded all-rounder Vijay Shankar for his match-winning knock, saying that he is “more fitter, more confident” and the hard work put by him is immense. An explosive half-century by Vijay Shankar and classy knocks from Shubman Gill and David Miller powered Gujarat Titans (GT) to a seven-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in their Indian Premier League (IPL) match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Saturday.

“(On bowling spells by Noor and Little) They got us back in the game and they kept us in the hunt. The way Gurbaz batted – he was hitting good balls with some conviction and clarity. The way they (Noor and Little) bowled was great. I would have taken 180 on that wicket on any given day. In a group, we know that to win the game, irrespective of the situation, we have to play good cricket. That humbleness is helping us win games of cricket,” said Hardik in a post-match presentation.

They are respecting the situation, we want to face it and it is just about playing good cricket and being smart. (On Vijay Shankar) He is a fitter Vijay Shankar, more confident and the amount of hard work he has put in is terrific. His hits changed the game and moving forward, we can expect more of the same. I always felt that good people get to good places and he is certainly one of those,” he added.

Vijay has made a great impact as a batter in IPL 2023. In six matches, he has scored 199 runs at an average of 49.75. He has scored two half-centuries, with best score of 63*. His runs have come at a strike rate of over 165.

Put to bat first by GT, KKR put up a competitive total of 179/7 in their 20 overs. Wickets kept falling for KKR, but Rahmanullah Gurbaz kept the other end steady with an explosive knock of 81 runs in 39 balls, which consisted of five fours and seven sixes. At the end, an entertaining cameo from Andre Russell (34 off 19 balls, with two fours and three sixes) pushed KKR to a competitive score.

Mohammed Shami was the pick of the bowlers for GT, taking 3/33 in his four overs. Joshua Little (2/25) and Noor Ahmed (2/21) also delivered economical four-over spells.

However, it was an off day for Rashid as he gave away 54 runs in four overs without any wickets, with an economy rate of 13.50.

In the chase of 180, Shubman Gill started really well. He played a knock of 49 in 35 balls, consisting of eight fours. He was supported well by skipper Hardik Pandya, who scored 26 off 20 balls, with two fours and a six and put on a 50-run stand for the second wicket. After they both were dismissed, GT was reduced to 93/3 in 11.2 overs.

The duo of Vijay Shankar (51* in 24 balls, with two fours and five sixes) and David Miller (32* in 18 balls with two fours and two sixes) helped GT seal a seven-wicket win with 13 balls to go.

Sunil Narine, Harshit Rana and Andre Russell got a wicket each. Joshua Little was named as the ‘Player of the Match’ for his spell of 2/25.

With this win, GT are the new table-toppers with 12 points, having won six matches out of eight. KKR are at the seventh position with three wins and six losses.

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