Gujarat Titans, one of the two new franchises this year in IPL alongside Lucknow Supergiants, have been crowned the IPL champions after emphatically beating Rajasthan Royals by 7 wickets. This was the 3rd time this season that Gujarat has gotten the better of Rajasthan, having previously beaten them in the group stage and then the playoffs.
Written off by most pundits before the season began due to their ‘lightweight’ batting line-up, Gujarat surprised everyone as they kept winning and winning during the group stage. Even after they made it to the playoffs having topped the table, people were still skeptical about them going all the way.
However, the team did not listen to the naysayers as they kept going from strength to strength and won their playoff game against Rajasthan and then returned to trounce them in the final.
Skipper Hardik Pandya and his boys found themselves in plenty of tough situations during the course of the tournament but whenever they needed it, they found a hero to rescue them. Every single player stepped up at different points in the tournament to push them forward when the chips were down, and in the end, they were the very deserved winners.
As for the actual game, Rajasthan won the toss for once and elected to bat first, but could never get going once the opening partnership was broken. Jos Buttler once again tried to hang in during the tough phase like he did during the first playoff game against Gujarat but was dismissed before he could really get going.
Hardik Pandya was the star of the show as he took 3 for 17 from his 4 overs including the prized scalp of the Orange Cap winner Jos Buttler while youngster Sai Kishore took 2 wickets in his 2 overs. Eventually, Rajasthan crawled their way to 130 in their 20 overs for the loss of 9 wickets.
In response, Gujarat didn’t start that well losing Saha and Wade within the first 5 overs but then captain Pandya arrived at the crease and steadied the chase. In the company of Shubhman Gill, Pandya ensured that Gujarat got through the tricky phase and when Pandya was eventually dismissed after scoring 34, the chase was all but settled.
David Miller, in sparkling form during this competition, arrived at the crease and continued his good form in the company of rock-solid Shubhman Gill. The inevitable came soon enough with Gill hitting a 6 to win Gujarat their first IPL in the very first attempt.