Shashank Singh Heroics Gifts the Punjab Kings A Winning Momentum

His 29-ball-61 helped the Punjab Kings secure a famous win at Ahmedabad against the Gujarat Titans in a record chase.

Shashank makes it an unforgettable finish

Shashank Singh, the unsung hero of the Punjab Kings, emerged as a beacon of hope in their recent IPL 2024 encounter, gifting the team much-needed winning momentum. His stellar performance not only secured a thrilling victory but also injected renewed confidence and energy into the Punjab Kings camp as they prepare to face the Gujarat Titans. In this blog, we delve into the extraordinary heroics of Shashank Singh and how they have set the stage for an exhilarating showdown against the Titans.

Shashank’s Heroics

He might not have been the Shashank Singh that Punjab Kings were searching for in the auction, but throughout this season and particularly today, he has made himself an undroppable name in the eleven. 

Shashank came in when the Kings had lost four for just 70 in the ninth over but remained unfazed right through to inject some much-needed impetus. He lofted Noor Ahmed’s googly for a six and then picked 14 off three deliveries from Umesh Yadav to get his innings going. 

Another six off Rashid and a ramp off Mohit Sharma kept Punjab in the chase. In between the Kings were lucky to have some support from others like Jitesh Sharma who hit back-to-back sixes off Rashid at a critical juncture.

A match-winning partnership

The final trick up Punjab Kings’ sleeves was the impact sub Ashutosh Sharma, who matched Shashank in shotmaking including three boundaries off an over from Azmatullah Omarzai. The duo also picked up 18 off the penultimate over bowled by Mohit with each batter hitting him for a six with brute power. 

The equation trickled down to 7 off the last over, which was given to Darshan Nalkande who hadn’t bowled an over until then. While he dismissed Sharma caught at long-on, the luck was with Shashank who got an outside-edged boundary before sneaking a leg-bye off the penultimate ball.

It brought about a thrilling conclusion to a game that had otherwise meandered along on a straight course with the Titans the favourites right through until the Kings sneaked back in.

Gill sets it up and carries it through

Shubman Gill was there right through the innings but not quite so imposing. He batted all 20 overs but faced only 48 balls in all. But it was studded with some eye-catching shots nevertheless. The first six down the ground off the left-arm spinner was as silken as lofts down the ground come. 

Then there was an intentional outside edge that was chopped fine using Arshdeep Singh’s angle across. He would also loft Kagiso Rabada straight down the ground for a six once and then pull him over long on for one more, there was also a forehand slap down the ground for a four off a slower ball for another boundary. 

All of these were indicative that the pitch did not hold much demons but also that Gill could unleash a good range of strokes en route to his 89* – the highest individual score of IPL 2024.

Gujarat batters complement Gill

All through his innings, Gill found the others doing commendable jobs at the other end. While Wriddhiman Saha and Kane Williamson (playing his first game of IPL 2024 replacing the injured David Miller) didn’t last too long, they were around long enough to stitch together stands worth 29 and 40. 

Sai Sudharsan, playing with more intent this time, matched Gill shot-for-shot at one point in his 19-ball 33 with six boundaries. But his cameo came to an end as he guided Harshal Patel to the wicket-keeper. Gujarat headed into the death overs in dire need of a boost and Rahul Tewatia provided the right finishing touches, albeit feasting on some friendly full tosses that enabled him to an 8-ball 23. 

And even as Gill missed his hundred, falling short by 11, his team had got to nearly 200, which would prove to be a lot more than just challenging for Punjab Kings.

Noor Ahmed turns it around

Despite losing Shikhar Dhawan early after he chopped on against Umesh Yadav’s first ball, Punjab were still in the chase thanks to Jonny Bairstow’s early flurry of boundaries. The opener got going as he pinged the cover boundary repeatedly with Azmatullah Omarzai offering some width. 

He had some support from an adventurous Prabhsimran Singh but that changed around swiftly. Noor Ahmed struck with his first ball bowling Bairstow through the gate and had Singh caught at point off an outside edge to rattle Punjab, who then found enough firepower in their lower middle-order to steal a sensational win.

What Next?

Punjab Kings will head home to Mohali where they will take on the in-form Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 9. Gujarat have a two-day gap where they’ll travel to take on Lucknow Super Giants on April 7.

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