Tensed Preity Zinta jumps out of her seat as Shashank bursts into bat-pointing celebration after PBKS' record chase | Crickit
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Tensed Preity Zinta jumps out of her seat as Shashank bursts into bat-pointing celebration after PBKS' record chase

Apr 05, 2024 08:08 AM IST

On Thursday night, PBKS' purchase came good as Shashank smashed an unbeaten 61 off just 29 balls to single-handedly guide the visitors to a historic chase

Five months back, in the mini-auction in Dubai for the 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL), there was a bit of confusion around the selection of Shashank Singh. It was a case of mistaken identity that Punjab Kings incurred during the accelerated phase of the auction over two players having the same name, and the franchise was eager to offload Shashank from their list when they realised it. Later, Punjab sent out a clarification tweet, and the player responded to it as well, thus putting an end to rumours.

Shashank Singh bursts into bat-pointing celebration after last-over thriller vs GT
Shashank Singh bursts into bat-pointing celebration after last-over thriller vs GT

On Thursday night, at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, PBKS' purchase came good as Shashank smashed an unbeaten 61 off just 29 balls to single-handedly guide the visitors to a historic chase of 200 against Gujarat Titans.

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The Titans put on a competitive total of 199 for 4 at home, riding on a superb knock of 89 from their skipper Shubman Gill, and blazing cameos of eight-ball 23 from Rahul Tewatia and 33 off 19 from Sai Sudharsan. Given their bowling line-up, Gujarat did back themselves to defend the total with ease, but handy efforts from Jonny Bairstow and Prabhsimran Singh kept the required run rate in check.

ALSO READ: From 'mistaken identity' to 'miracle' man: Shashank Singh puts behind IPL auction controversy to become PBKS' hero vs GT

Noor Ahmad then changed the course of the game with a brilliant spell of two wickets before PBKS looked to struggle with the likes of Sam Curran and Sikandar Raza unable to find rhythm. Jitesh Sharma, too, walked back quickly after just two maximums against Rashid Khan. However, impact player, Ashutosh Sharma, made a real impact with his 17-ball 31 and played the perfect foil to Shashank, who smashed six boundaries and four maximums en route to his maiden IPL fifty.

With seven required off six, Ashutosh and Shashank were expected to wrap up the chase with ease after smashing Azmatullah Omarzai and Mohit Sharma for a combined 34 runs in the previous two overs. However, Darshan Nalkande struck in the opening ball to dismiss the impact player. Harpreet Brar, the next batter in, managed to put Shashank on strike on his second ball and the latter shuffled across against the fuller ball to whip it over short third for a boundary as the equation reduced to 1 off 2.

An anxious Gill got his fielders to close in, making a couple of changes on the field while PBKS co-owner Priety Zinta looked tensed as she watched the proceedings from the stand. Nalkande dished out another fuller ball, angling in, but this time, it was a bit more towards the leg side. Shashank missed the flick but the ball went off his pads to the left wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha as the batter sneaked a single. GT called for a review for LBW, but the ball clearly missed the leg stump.

Shashank was absolutely ecstatic about guiding his team to a win as he burst into a bat-pointing celebration at the PBKS dugout while a tensed Zinta jumped from her seat, joining the jollification.

This was PBKS' second win in four matches in IPL 2024. But the standout factor in the victory was that the franchise became the side with the most successful chases of 200-plus targets in IPL history, completing the feat for a record sixth time on Friday. They beat Mumbai Indians to claim the record. It was also the second-highest chase against the Titans with Kolkata Knight Riders standing top of the chart following their 2023 heroics where Rinku Singh had smashed five sixes in the final over to chase down 205.

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