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Three wickets for Ferguson in Gujarat win

Fast bowler Lockie Ferguson and captain Hardik Pandya have starred in Gujarat Titans’ 37-run win over Rajasthan Royals in a battle of the early IPL table-toppers.

Pandya led Gujarat to an imposing total of 192-4 on Thursday, with an unbeaten 87 off 52 balls, after Rajasthan’s Sanju Samson won the toss.

Ferguson used his change of pace to claim 3-23, including the key wicket of Jos Buttler (54) on the last ball of the batting powerplay as Rajasthan were restricted to 155-9.

Gujarat now top the standings after their fourth win in five games. Rajasthan slipped to third on net run-rate.

“Captaincy is fun and it allows me to take responsibility and be the flag-bearer,” Pandya said, after pushing himself up the order to No.4. “I am not used to batting this long.”

Buttler’s 23-ball half-century included eight fours and three sixes inside the first six overs but Ferguson’s twin strike derailed Rajasthan’s chase.

David Miller plucked a brilliant two-handed catch in the covers to dismiss Ravichandran Ashwin off Ferguson’s first ball. Then Buttler was undone by a superb leg-cutter by the New Zealand fast bowler, which hit the base of off stump.

Pandya then had Samson (11) run out off a brilliant direct throw from mid-off at the non-striker’s end and Yash Dayal found the edge of Rassie van der Dussen’s (6) bat as Rajasthan slipped to 90-5 in the 11th over.

Dayal took the wicket of Yuzvendra Chahal to end up with 3-40 as Gujarat came back strongly after Ferguson chipped in with the wicket of Buttler.

Earlier, Pandya held Gujarat’s innings together after arriving at the crease in the third over with his team struggling at 15-2. Matthew Wade was run out in the second over and Vijay Shankar was caught behind off Kuldeep Sen.

Pandya added 86 runs with Abhinav Manohar, who made 43 off 28 balls before top-edging a pull.

Miller’s rapid 31 off just 14 balls included three fours and six in the penultimate over off Sen.

Pandya missed out on his personal best IPL score by four runs but provided a perfect finish when he hit fast bowler Prasidh Krishna for a six and an edged boundary off the last ball of the innings.

AAP and AP

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