Gujarat tops IPL after Shankar fireworks beat Kolkata

KOLKATA, India (AP) — Gujarat Titans moved atop the Indian Premier League after Vijay Shankar's quickfire half-century helped them beat Kolkata Knight Riders by seven wickets on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Delhi Capitals remained on the bottom of the table after losing to fellow strugglers Sunrisers Hyderabad by nine runs.

Shankar scored an unbeaten 51 off 24 balls, including five sixes, for Gujarat to reach a winning 180-3 with 13 balls to spare. That was after Gujarat pacers Mohammed Shami and Joshua Little shared five wickets to restrict Kolkata to 179-7.

Play was delayed by nearly 45 minutes because of a wet outfield but no overs were lost.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz drove Kolkata with 81 off 39 balls that included seven sixes and five fours. But Shardul Thakur, promoted to No. 3, was out for a four-ball duck.

Little struck a double blow in the 11th over by dismissing Venkatesh Iyer and Nitish Rana to reduce Kolkata to 88-4. But Gurbaz staged a recovery with Rinku Singh as they shared 47 off 28 balls.

Then 18-year-old wrist spinner Noor Ahmed got rid of his Afghan compatriot Gurbaz and Singh in successive overs.

Andre Russell struck three sixes in 34 off 19 balls to celebrate his birthday but Kolkata managed only a par score in good batting conditions.

In reply, impact player Shubman Gill gave Gujarat a solid start by combining for 41 runs with Wriddhiman Saha (10) and 50 runs with skipper Hardik Pandya (26).

Gill put on a timing masterclass as he struck eight boundaries in his 35-ball, 49-run knock.

Gujarat was down to 93-3 in the 12th over when Gill fell to Sunil Narine but they never looked in trouble after that.

Shankar's and David Miller's unbeaten 87-run partnership off 39 balls led them to a dominant victory.

Miller hit two fours and two sixes, and Shankar blitzed his way to a half-century, finishing the game with a six.

In the day's second game, Mitchell Marsh’s all-round show went in vain as Delhi lost to Hyderabad.

Marsh took 4-27 in four overs as Hyderabad made 197-6, and he top-scored with 63 off 39 balls but Delhi’s middle order collapsed and they finished short on 188-6.

Hyderabad demoted Harry Brook in the batting order after a string of failures and opener Abhishek Sharma compensated with 67 off 36. Sharma hit 12 fours and a six.

Marsh ran through the middle order, dismissing Aiden Markram (8) and Brook for a two-ball duck in the space of three balls in the 10th over.

Hyderabad was 109-5 and rescued by Heinrich Klaasen, who posted his maiden IPL half-century. Klaasen hit four sixes in an unbeaten 53 off 27 balls.

Delhi's Marsh and opener Philip Salt put on 112 runs off 66 balls for the second wicket. Salt achieved his first IPL half-century by contributing 59 off 35 balls.

But it was Marsh who set Arun Jaitley Stadium alight, hitting six sixes. He brought up 50 off only 28 balls.

However, Delhi crashed from 112-1 to 125-4 in the space of 12 deliveries. Marsh fell to Akeal Hosein and Salt offered a return catch to Mayank Markande.

Delhi's Axar Patel made a late unbeaten 29 off 14 balls but it was too little, and Hyderabad kept alive its slim qualification hopes.


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