Ahmedabad, May 29
Nobody gave them a chance but Gujarat Titans, bucking all pre-tournament predictions, surprised everyone by lifting the Indian Premier League trophy in a dream maiden season after a seven-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals in the final here today.
A lot of people didn’t rate us before the start of the tournament, and we have proven them wrong. It all started with (Mohammed) Shami taking the wicket with his first ball in our first game — Wriddhiman Saha, titans’ wicketkeeper
It has been a phenomenal journey. It has been a collective effort throughout the season. Hardik (Pandya) has gotten better and better as the season progressed — David Miller, titans’ batter
You are looking for balance, depth at the auction but the most important is you need guys who are versatile. Hardik has been incredibly humble and eager to learn. He batted beautifully, taking responsibility which is different from what we have seen of him in the IPL — Gary Kirsten, titans’ team mentor
Player of the Tournament
Jos Buttler (Rajasthan)
(4 hundreds, 4 fifties)
Yuzvendra Chahal (Rajasthan)
27 wickets (Average: 19.51; Economy: 7.75)
Gujarat’s highly-rated bowling attack, led by skipper Hardik Pandya (3/17) himself, limited a formidable Rajasthan Royals batting unit to 130/9 after losing the toss.
Shubman Gill and David Miller remained unbeaten on 45 and 32, respectively, to complete an emphatic win for their team.
It should have been a comfortable chase but Rajasthan bowled their hearts out to make it an interesting final. As they showed all season, Gujarat remained calm in tough situations to finish the chase in 18.1 overs.
Not many gave Gujarat a chance in their first season especially after a mixed auction where they waited till the end to secure the services of wicketkeepers Wriddhiman Saha and Matthew Wade.
It was not a team studded with star players but Hardik impressed with his leadership and got the best out of his colleagues.
His performance with bat and ball also contributed immensely to the team’s triumph besides the ability to bounce back from any situation through the brilliance of Miller and Rahul Tewatia.
After posting an underwhelming total, Rajasthan had to produce a special effort with the ball to get back in the game.
The pace duo of Trent Boult and Prasidh Krishna were brilliant in the powerplay, reducing Gujarat to 31/2 with Wriddhiman Saha (5) and Matthew Wade (8) back in the dugout.
Gujarat would have been three down in the powerplay had Yuzvendra Chahal held on to a simple catch of Gill off Boult in the first over of the innings.
Hardik and Gill struggled to get the boundaries but never felt extreme pressure as the asking rate remained in control.
Earlier, Hardik struck thrice in his four overs while Rashid Khan (1/18) delivered yet again on the big stage to put their team on course.
Rajasthan did not have the best of starts after skipper Sanju Samson decided to bat first. Gujarat’s bowlers were able to maintain the pressure on the opposition though Jos Buttler (39 of 35) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (22 off 16) tried their best to break free.
Buttler, the tournament’s top scorer, got out to Hardik after making 39 off 35 balls. Hardik also dismissed the dangerous Samson and Shimron Hetmyer.
“A lot of people didn’t rate us before the start of the tournament, and we have proven them wrong. It all started with (Mohammed) Shami taking the wicket with his first ball in our first game,” Titans’ wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha said.
Brief scores: Rajasthan Royals: 130/9 (Buttler 39; Hardik 3/17, Rashid 1/18); Gujarat Titans: 133/3 in 18.1 overs (Shubman 45*, Hardik 34, Miller 32*).
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