Rajasthan Royals were reduced to 130 for nine by Gujarat Titans spinners at a crowded Narendra Modi Stadium after electing to bat after winning the toss.
Jos Buttler, the tournament’s leading scorer, was caught by Hardik Pandya after reaching 39 from 35 balls.
Hardik Pandya bowled superbly in his four overs, finishing with figures of 3/17, while Rashid Khan also bowled well, getting 1/18 in his full quota of overs.
Nobody gave Gujarat Titans a chance, but they stunned everyone by winning the Indian Premier League title in their debut season after a seven-wicket triumph over Rajasthan Royals in the final here on Sunday, defying all pre-tournament forecasts. After losing the toss, Gujarat Titans’s highly-rated bowling attack, led by skipper Hardik Pandya (3/17), reduced a tough Rajasthan Royals batting squad to 130 for nine. Shubman Gill and David Miller continued their unbeaten streaks with 45 and 32 points, respectively, to help their team to a convincing victory.
The chase should have been easy, but Rajasthan bowled their hearts out to make it a thrilling finish. Gujarat, as they had done all season, remained composed in difficult situations, completing the chase in 18.1 overs.
Few people gave Gujarat Titans a chance in their inaugural season, especially following a mixed auction in which they had to wait until the very last minute to obtain wicketkeepers Wriddhiman Saha and Matthew Wade.
It wasn’t a star-studded team, but Hardik impressed with his leadership and was able to get the best out of his teammates.
Apart from the capacity to bounce back from any circumstance thanks to the brilliance of Miller and Rahul Tewatia, his performance with the bat and ball was crucial to the team’s victory.
Rajasthan needed to make a particular effort with the ball after registering an unimpressive total to get back into the contest.
With Wriddhiman Saha (5) and Matthew Wade (8) back in the dugout, the speed combo of Trent Boult and Prasidh Krishna were excellent in the powerplay, reducing Gujarat to 31 for two.
To penetrate Saha’s defence and crash into the stumps, Krishna got one to seam back in from a good length.
Wade was dismissed by Boult, who also bowled a maiden over in his clean effort. If Yuzvendra Chahal had held on to an easy catch of Gill off Boult in the opening over of the innings, Gujarat Titans would have been three down in the powerplay.
Hardik and Gill fought hard to get the boundaries, but they never felt under pressure because the asking rate was kept under tight control.
Hardik (34 off 30) opted to go after R Ashwin in the 12th over, collecting a four and a six off successive deliveries to set up the 50-run partnership with Gill and lead Gujarat Titans to 77 for two in 12 overs.
The skipper was caught off guard by Chahal’s superb leg break, but Gill and Miller came through in the end. When Gill hit the winning six, the entire stadium, which seats over a lakh people, exploded in applause.
Earlier, Hardik (3/17) and Rashid Khan (1/18) each struck three times in their four overs to put their squad on track for a title in their first season.
After skipper Sanju Samson decided to put runs on the board in a huge final, Rajasthan got off to a shaky start.
Despite Jos Buttler’s (39 of 35) and Yashasvi Jaiswal’s (22 off 16) best efforts, Gujarat Titans bowlers were able to keep the pressure on the opposition.
When compared to Buttler at the start of the innings, Jaiswal, who appeared tentative against Mohammad Shami’s pace and swing, took more chances.
The most reassuring stroke Jaiswal tried was a superbly timed six over cover off Shami. The southpaw tried one too many after pulling Yash Dayal for a stunning six over long leg and was caught in the deep. The mishit was caused by the extra bounce.
Buttler was joined in the middle by Samson (14 off 11), who started his innings with a crisp square cut.
Hardik introduced the star spinner into the attack in the powerplay itself, knowing that both Rajasthan right-handers struggle against him.
As Rajasthan reached 44 for one in the powerplay, Buttler and Samson elected to play it cautious against Rashid.
Buttler, who was in fine form, opted to force the matter by driving Lockie Ferguson over the cover fielder and then cutting him for consecutive boundaries.
The New Zealander was putting on a show, with a top speed of 157.3 kmph, the fastest ball of the event.
Hardik, Samson’s opposite number, took him out on his second ball of the game, thus he didn’t survive long. Rajasthan were reduced to 60 for two in 8.2 overs when Hardik struck the hard length and Samson attempted the pull shot but was caught on the off-side.
Rajasthan’s woes were exacerbated when Devdutt Padikkal (2), who took eight balls to get off the mark, and Buttler both left within three balls of each other.
GT responded by losing two early wickets but eventually chasing down the 131-run goal with 11 balls to spare.