A determined Gujarat Titans made their maiden IPL season an unforgettable one by clinching the 2022 title with a seven-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in front of a roaring home crowd of 1,04,859 at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Sunday.
By finishing off a chase of 131 with 11 balls remaining and defeating Rajasthan for the third time in IPL 2022, Gujarat have capped off a season where they exceeded everyone’s pre-tournament expectations to become champions in their debut season of the competition.
Chasing 131 wasn’t going to be easy for Gujarat on a slow, dry pitch with variable bounce, where Hardik Pandya had taken a fantastic 3/17 in the first innings. Wriddhiman Saha was clean bowled by a quick inswinger from Prasidh Krishna while Matthew Wade flicked straight to mid-wicket off Trent Boult.
After Gujarat could amass just 31/2 from power-play, Rajasthan’s bowling continued to be incisive from both ends as Shubman Gill and Hardik Pandya struggled to break free despite some boundaries here and there. Gill, who was dropped on fourth ball of the innings, earned another reprieve in the eighth over when a hoick down the pitch wasn’t caught by a diving extra cover.
But the introduction of Ravichandran Ashwin brought Pandya the chance to find his groove, taking the off-spinner for a four with a thick outer edge past the keeper and followed it up with a six over wide long-on.
The 63-run stand off 53 balls between Pandya and Gill ended when Yuzvendra Chahal took out the former with the one turning away and taking the outer edge, giving a catch to slip. It seemed like Pandya’s dismissal would leave Gujarat in a spot of bother.
David Miller, one of their key players in the season, began by driving Obed McCoy through extra cover for a boundary and then dispatched an overpitched ball from Ashwin over long-on to make the equation 22 runs off the last four overs.
The left-hander took two boundaries off Krishna’s final over, a pull swivelled over fine leg followed by a thick edge through third man. Gill finished off the innings in style with a swivelled six off McCoy over deep square leg to make Gujarat IPL 2022 champions.
Brief Scores: Rajasthan Royals 130/9 in 20 overs (Jos Buttler 39, Yashasvi Jaiswal 22; Hardik Pandya 3/17, R Sai Kishore 2/20) lost to Gujarat Titans 133/3 in 18.1 overs (Shubman Gill 45 not out, Hardik Pandya 34; Trent Boult 1/14, Yuzvendra Chahal 1/20) by seven wickets
Winning the trophy is fantastic, really happy for the guys, says Gary Kirsten
Gary Kirsten, the mentor of Gujarat Titans, was understandably a happy man after the side defeated Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets in front of a roaring home crowd of 1,04,859 at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Sunday.
In a tournament which almost ran for two months, Gujarat made big splashes by being the most consistent side, topping the table, securing a direct ticket to the final and eventually winning the trophy.
“It’s fantastic, really happy for the guys, they’ve put a lot into the tournament, great for Ashish (Nehra, head coach) and Vikram (Solanki, director of cricket) as well. You’re looking for good balance, good depth in the auction but most importantly you’re looking for players who can different roles, the one thing we’ve learnt with Ashish is finding guys who were versatile, and at 4, 5 and 6 – we’ve got that,” said Kirsten to broadcasters Star Sports after the match.
For Gujarat, there were different players who stood up at various moments to take the side home, something which pleased Kirsten.
“We all got energy out of it, we’ve had a great bowling attack – through the end we went a bowler strong and a batter light, but we were always confident, just to get good balance in the team. Sai Kishore came into the team as a left-arm spinner and did really well as well.” Asked about his experience of working alongside captain Hardik Pandya, Kirsten had words of appreciation for him.