Gujarat Titans beat Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets in the final of IPL 2022 to win the title in their debut season.
Nobody gave them a chance, but Gujarat Titans, defying all pre-tournament predictions, surprised everyone by lifting the Indian Premier League (IPL 2022) title in a dream inaugural season after a seven-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in the final here on Sunday. Gujarat’s highly-rated bowling attack, led by captain Hardik Pandya (3/17) himself, restricted a formidable Rajasthan Royals batting unit to 130 for nine after losing the toss. Shubman Gill and David Miller remained unbeaten on 45 and 32, respectively, to complete a resounding win for their side.
It should have been a comfortable chase, but Rajasthan rolled over to make it an interesting final. As they proved throughout the season, Gujarat kept their cool in difficult situations to finish the chase in 18.1 overs.
Not many gave Gujarat a chance in their first season, especially after a mixed auction in which they waited till the end to secure the services of goalkeepers Wriddhiman Saha and Matthew Wade.
It wasn’t a star-studded team, but Hardik was impressed with his leadership and brought out the best in his teammates.
His performance with bat and ball also contributed immensely to the team’s win in addition to the ability to bounce back from any situation through the brilliance of Miller and Rahul Tewatia.
After posting a disappointing total, Rajasthan had to make a special effort with the ball to get back into the game.
The pace duo of Trent Boult and Prasidh Krishna were brilliant on the powerplay, reducing Gujarat to 31 for two with Wriddhiman Saha (5) and Matthew Wade (8) back on the bench.
Krishna had one coming back to sew from a good length to break through Saha’s defense and crash into the stumps.
Boult, who also brought down a maiden in his tidy spell, removed Wade. Gujarat would have been three down on the powerplay had Yuzvendra Chahal held on to a simple catch off Gill off Boult in the first over of the innings.
Hardik and Gill struggled to get boundaries but never felt extreme pressure as the asking rate was kept in check.
R Ashwin was introduced in the 12th over and Hardik (34 off 30) decided to go after him, collecting four and six successive balls to open the 50-run stand with Gill and take Gujarat to 77 for two in 12 overs.
The skipper fell to a brilliant leg break from Chahal, but Gill and Miller got the job done in the end. The entire stadium, which houses over one lakh people, erupted when Gill scored the winning six.
Earlier, Hardik (3/17) struck thrice in his four overs, while Rashid Khan (1/18) delivered once again on the big stage to put his team on course for a title in his debut season.
Rajasthan did not get off to the best of starts after skipper Sanju Samson decided to put runs on the board in a grand finale.
The Gujarat bowlers were able to keep the pressure on the opposition through Jos Buttler (39 off 35) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (22 off 16) doing their best to break free.
Jaiswal, who looked hesitant against the pace and swing of Mohammad Shami, took more chances than Buttler at the start of the innings.
Among the shots Jaiswal attempted, his surest stroke was a beautifully timed six-over cover off Shami. After pushing Yash Dayal for a huge leg-side six over long-on, the left-hander tried one too many and was caught in the deep. The extra bounce induced the error.
Buttler, who began his innings with a crisp square cut, joined Samson (14 off 11) in the middle.
Knowing well that the two Rajasthan right-handers struggle against Rashid Khan, Hardik took the spinning star on the attack in the powerplay.
Both Buttler and Samson opted to play safe against Rashid when Rajasthan reached 44 for one on the powerplay.
Buttler, who was in form, decided to force the issue when he pushed Lockie Ferguson over the cover fielder before cutting him for successive boundaries.
The New Zealander was generating some serious pace and went on to clock 157.3 km per hour, the fastest ball of the tournament.
Samson didn’t last long as his counterpart Hardik removed him on his second ball of the game. Hardik hit the hard length and Samson looked for the pull shot only to be caught for off-side, leaving Rajasthan on 60 for two in 8.2 overs.
Rajasthan’s problems worsened when Devdutt Padikkal (2), who took eight balls to stump off the mark, and Buttler departed in a three-ball gap.
With Rajasthan running a ball after 14 overs, big hits were the need of the hour.
However, Hardik made 94 for five as he caught and bowled the dangerous Shimron Hetmyer.
Ashwin perished in the next over, ending all hopes of Rajasthan fighting back.