Pandya shines as Titans win in front of 104,859 fans
May 30 2022 12:09 AM

Gujarat Titans captain Hardik Pandya and teammates celebrate with the IPL trophy after their win
Gujarat Titans captain Hardik Pandya and teammates celebrate with the IPL trophy after their win over Rajasthan Royals in Ahmedabad yesterday.

AFP/ Ahmedabad

• Rajasthan Royals choke in the final as Gujarat Titans sweep to maiden title

Hardik Pandya starred with bat and ball as Gujarat Titans clinched the IPL title in their debut season with a seven-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals in front of a record crowd of 104,859 in Ahmedabad yesterday.
Pandya returned figures of 3-17 to restrict Rajasthan to 130 for nine in the lop-sided final at the world’s biggest cricket stadium and Gujarat’s home ground.
The captain then made 34 with the bat before Shubman Gill (45) and David Miller (32) steered the team home in 18.1 overs to bring the house down at the 132,000 capacity stadium.
It was a fairytale finish for a team that entered the world’s richest domestic cricket tournament alongside Lucknow Super Giants in the expanded 10-team IPL this year.
Pandya set up victory with his key wickets including Jos Buttler’s prized scalp for 39 after Rajasthan, led by Sanju Samson, elected to bat first.
Buttler, who hit an unbeaten 106 in Rajasthan’s win in the second qualifier, finished this season as the leading batsman with 863 runs and his wicket raised the roof at a stadium bigger than the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan returned impressive figures of 1-18 from his four overs of leg-spin to keep down the opposition scoring.
Pandya, who sent back his opposite number Samson for 14, kept up the pressure and got the big-hitting Shimron Hetmyer out for 11 with a caught and bowled.
Fast bowlers Mohammed Shami and Yash Dayal, who got opener Yashasvi Jaiswal for 22, worked up good pace to keep Rajasthan on the backfoot from the start.
In reply, Gujarat lost Wriddhiman Saha for five and Matthew Wade for eight before Shubman and Gill and Pandya put the chase back on track.
The pair put on 63 runs for the third wicket to put the pressure back on the bowling side as Pandya smashed Ravichandran Ashwin for a four and six in the 12th over.
Yuzvendra Chahal got Pandya out with his leg spin to overtake Wanindu Hasaranga of Royal Challengers Bangalore as the leading wicket-taker of the tournament and finished with 27 scalps.
But Gill, who was dropped on nought by Chahal, stood firm to put on an unbeaten 47-run stand with left-handed South African batsman David Miller, who made 32 off 19.
Gill’s stylish 45 came from just 43 balls and ended with a six that secured the victory.
The two batsmen hugged and, as the fireworks erupted, the Gujarat players came running on to the pitch to celebrate.
Rajasthan go back dejected after their first final appearance since they won the inaugural edition in 2008 under late Australian hero Shane Warne.
Rajasthan Royals 130/9 (Jos Buttler 39, Yashasvi Jaiswal 22, Riyan Parag 15; Hardik Pandya 3 for 17, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore 2 for 20) lost to Gujarat Titans 133/3 (Shubman Gill 42*, Hardik Pandya 34, David Miller 32*, Trent Boult 1 for 14, Yuzvendra Chahal 1 for 20, Prasidh Krishna 1 for 40) by 7 wickets (with 11 balls remaining)

Shubman Gill of Gujarat Titans celebrates after his side won the IPL title yesterday.

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