Water deficit limits plant growth and productivity in wheat. The effect of water deficit varies considerably in the contrasting genotypes. This study attempted comparative transcriptome profiling of the tolerant (Abura) and susceptible (AUS12671) genotypes under PEG-simulated water stress via genome-wide RNA-seq technology to understand the dynamics of tolerance mechanism. Morphological and physiological analyses indicated that the tolerant genotype Abura had a higher root growth and net photosynthesis, which accounted for its higher root biomass than AUS12671 under stress. Transcriptomic analysis revealed a total of 924 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) that were unique in the contrasting genotypes under stress across time points. The susceptible genotype AUS12671 had slightly more abundant DEGs (505) than the tolerant genotype Abura (419). Gene ontology enrichment and pathway analyses of these DEGs suggested that the two genotypes differed significantly in terms of adaptive mechanism. Predominant upregulation of genes involved in various metabolic pathways was the key adaptive feature of the susceptive genotype AUS12671 indicating its energy-consuming approach in adaptation to water deficit. In contrast, downregulation the expression of genes of key pathways, such as global and overview maps, carbohydrate metabolism, and genetic information processing was the main strategy for the tolerant genotype Abura. Besides, significantly higher number of genes encoding transcription factors (TF) families like MYB and NAC, which were reported to be associated with stress defense, were differentially expressed in the tolerant genotype Abura. Gene encoding transcription factors TIFY were only differentially expressed between stressed and non-stressed conditions in the sensitive genotype. The identified DEGs and the suggested differential adaptive strategies of the contrasting genotypes provided an insight for improving water deficit tolerance in wheat.