Final (N), Ahmedabad, May 29, 2022, Indian Premier League
(18.1/20 ov, T:131) 133/3

Titans won by 7 wickets (with 11 balls remaining)


All-round Hardik Pandya leads debutants Gujarat Titans to dream title

Captain takes three wickets and scores vital 34 as Titans make light work of Royals' 130

Gujarat Titans 133 for 3 (Gill 45*, Hardik 34, Miller 32*, Boult 1-14) beat Rajasthan Royals 130 for 9 (Buttler 39, Hardik 3-17, Sai Kishore 2-20) by seven wickets
Captain Hardik Pandya starred with the ball and bat to lead Gujarat Titans to IPL glory, in front of a home crowd of over 100,000 in Ahmedabad. After losing the toss on the same pitch that was used for the second qualifier on Friday, Hardik ripped through Royals' line-up by dismissing Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson and Shimron Hetmyer in a spell of 4-0-17-3.
The damage proved irreparable, especially for a thin batting line-up that had R Ashwin, Riyan Parag, Trent Boult, Obed McCoy, Prasidh Krishna and Yuzvendra Chahal from Nos. 6 to 11.
Royals took out Wriddhiman Saha and Matthew Wade early in their defence of 130, but Hardik, the batter, stopped them in their tracks, with 34 off 30 balls. Chahal dismissed Hardik in the 14th over, with Titans 45 away from victory, but Shubman Gill and David Miller coolly finished the job that Hardik had started in grand style.
The royal slowdown
Yashasvi Jaiswal, Royals' powerplay dasher, needed eight balls to get off the mark on Sunday. When Mohammed Shami erred full, Jaiswal pumped him down the ground and over extra-cover for boundaries. Yash Dayal, however, had him hauling a pull to deep square-leg for 22 off 16 balls.
As for Buttler, he dawdled to 10 off 14 balls in the powerplay, and struggled to find a higher gear throughout his 35-ball stay. The slowdown from the openers forced Samson to take risks at the other end. After hitting two fours in his first three balls, the second via a fumble, Samson shaped to line-up Hardik's hard length, only to sky a catch to R Sai Kishore at backward point.
Hardik's masterclass
Hardik continued to pound the hard lengths and ensured that Devdutt Padikkal couldn't score a single run off the bat against him from seven balls. Something had to give and that something was Padikkal throwing his bat at Rashid Khan and swishing a catch to backward point for 2 off 10 balls.
Buttler threatened to break free with back-to-back fours off Shami in the tenth over, but Hardik had him limply guiding a catch to the keeper for 39 soon after.
Hardik wasn't done yet with the ball. He capped his spell by having Hetmyer plopping a return catch for 11 off 12 balls.
In more encouraging signs for India, Hardik bowled without the fear of injury and even let rip proper bouncers at speeds north of 140kph.
Sai Kishore fronts up to bowl at the death
Hardik, the captain, didn't miss a beat either. Once the left-handed pair of Padikkal and Hetmyer were dismissed, Hardik introduced Sai Kishore into the attack. Fronting up to bowl the 16th and 18th overs, the left-arm fingerspinner responded with the wickets of Ashwin and Boult.
Sai Kishore had entered the tournament with the reputation of being one of the most economical bowlers in T20 cricket. He ended the tournament with an enhanced reputation and back-to-back IPL titles.
Miller, Gill bring Titans home
The only way for Royals to claw their way back into the game was to make early inroads. Prasidh and Boult did that, getting rid of Saha and Wade, respectively, to leave Titans wobbling at 23 for 2 in the fifth over.
Gill could have also been dismissed in the powerplay had Chahal held on to a catch at short square-leg. Gill, who was on zero at that point, pressed on to score an unbeaten 45 off 43 balls. It was Hardik, though, who put Titans' chase on track when he struck three boundaries in seven balls after being on 11 off 17 balls.
When Chahal coaxed an outside edge from Hardik, he snatched the purple cap from fellow legspinner Wanindu Hasaranga. Miller, however, laid into Royals' attack and gave Titans' first IPL campaign a rousing finish along with Gill.

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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