Hardik Pandya led from the front as Gujarat Titans defeated Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets to become the Indian Premier League title in their maiden season. This is only the second stance of a team winning the title in its first season, after Rajasthan won it in the inaugural edition of the league.
It was not an easy ride for the Titans after they restricted the opponents to 130. A couple of early wickets in, Matthew Wade and Wriddhiman Saha pushed them into a spot of bother. Shubman Gill and Hardik Pandya, however, held on and steadied the innings before David Miller’s explosive cameo propelled them across the target.
It was a 63-run stand between Pandya and Gill that set up the foundation. Pandya scored 34 off 30 deliveries before being dismissed by Yuzvendra Chahal. If Pandya’s dismissal opened a glimmer of hope for Rajasthan Royals to crawl back into the game, it didn’t take too long for Miller to crush it with his quickfire 32.
Gill was the binding force of the chase, scoring a well-measured 45, with the help of three fours and a six. He hit the winning boundary on the first ball of the penultimate over—a glorious pull over the square leg.
Pandya (3-17), meanwhile, also starred with the ball, taking three crucial wickets to restrict the opponents to a below-par total. He got rid of three of the most destructive batters in the opposition camp, Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler, and Shimron Hetmyer.
Pandya finished the season as the fourth-highest run-getter in the IPL 2022, having amassed 487 runs in 15 matches at a strike rate of 131. He also claimed 8 wickets at an economy of just over 7.
After Rohit Sharma and Anil Kumble, he is the third captain to win the Player of the Match award in the IPL final.
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