Chennai Super Kings (CSK) pulled off a stunning heist to beat Gujarat Titans (GT) by five wickets and win its fifth Indian Premier League title, at the Narendra Modi Stadium in the wee hours of May 30.
Chasing a revised 171-run target in 15 overs after rain affected play, CSK needed 10 to win off the last two balls, only for Ravindra Jadeja to hoist Mohit Sharma straight down the ground for a six and follow it up with a glanced four to the fine-leg boundary.
Mohit, until then, had seemed set to defend 13 runs from the last over. He conceded just three off the first four deliveries, but missed his length trying to bowl yorkers off the last two as CSK matched Mumbai Indians’ record of five IPL trophies.
Sai Sudharsan’s terrific 96 (47b, 8x4, 6x6) had propelled defending champion GT to a mammoth 214 for four. The score was the highest any team had made in an IPL final, but CSK was left to chase a reduced target after a 20-minute shower three balls into its reply left the turf unplayable for nearly 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Two practice pitches at the extreme ends of the main 22-yard strip were mangled because the covers couldn’t be brought on in time.
But once the contest restarted at 12.10 a.m., CSK scored at a rapid pace. Ruturaj Gaikwad (26, 16b, 3x4, 1x6) and Devon Conway (47, 25b, 4x4, 2x6) put on 74 runs in just 39 balls, and Ajinkya Rahane (27, 13b, 2x4, 2x6) and Shivam Dube (32 n.o., 21b, 2x6) continued in the same vein.
With 38 needed from three overs, Ambati Rayudu, turning out for the last time in the IPL, hammered Mohit for two sixes and a four (19, 8b, 1x4, 2x6). But Mohit, brought GT right back into the game by removing Rayudu and M.S. Dhoni (0) off back-to-back balls.
Mohammed Shami conceded just eight runs from the penultimate over leaving Mohit to defend 13. And just when the 34-year-old former CSK pacer appeared like getting the job done, Jadeja snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Trump card Rashid Khan had an ordinary day for GT, conceding 44 runs from three overs.
Earlier in the evening, all eyes were on Indian cricket’s crown prince Shubman Gill, who seemed set to own one of the game’s biggest stages. But Tamil Nadu batter Sai Sudharsan, who was bought by GT in the February 2022 auction at his base price of ₹20 lakh, ended up carving a niche for himself.
Coming in at the fall of Gill (67/1, eighth over) Sai Sudharsan’s was a superbly paced knock. His first 20 runs took as many as 17 balls, watchful as he was when Jadeja and Maheesh Theekshana bowled stifling lines (overs seven to 10, 24 runs).
But from the next 30 deliveries, he scored 76 golden runs to make his highest IPL score, in his 13th match.
GT, after being asked to bat, had a fine PowerPlay, with Wriddhiman Saha (54, 39b, 5x4, 1x6) and Gill (39, 20b, 7x4) combining to score 62 runs. CSK didn’t help itself, fluffing as many as three chances including a sitter by Deepak Chahar at square-leg when Gill was on three.
And the batter capitalised, looking resplendent for as long as he was in the middle. The 23-year-old hit Tushar Deshpande and Theekshana for a hat-trick of fours each, but his best shot came off Chahar, a trademark half-cut when barely allowed any room.
However, in the seventh over, Jadeja worked his magic, drawing Gill out of the crease and having him stumped, courtesy Dhoni’s lightning quick hands. That brought Sai Sudharsan to the middle, and after a few overs’ recce, he made the play.
He steered Matheesha Pathirana to the off-side boundary twice to get going, before smashing Jadeja and Theekshana for three sixes in the mid-wicket region. The half century (32b) came with a four behind point off Pathirana.
In the 17th over, Deshpande (4-0-56-0) was sent on a leather hunt. Sai Sudharsan lined up for a scoop, but the ball sailed over Dhoni for a six via a leading edge. The 21-year-old, who oozes orthodoxy, perhaps felt corrupted and came up with three sublime drives to the fence – down the ground, through cover and extra-cover.
And when Sai Sudharsan launched Pathirana (4-0-44-0) for back-to-back sixes at the start of the 20th – over extra-cover and a slog-sweep over long-on – a century seemed imminent, only for a yorker-length ball to trap him in front.
The runs were worth their weight in gold for GT, nearly helping the Hardik Pandya-led side defend its crown, before a miracle from CSK took the shine off.
Gujarat Titans: Gujarat Titans: Wriddhiman Saha c Dhoni b Chahar 54 Shubman Gill st Dhoni b Jadeja 39 B Sai Sudharsan lbw b Pathirana 96 Hardik Pandya not out 21 Rashid Khan c Gaikwad b Pathiran 0 Extras: (B-1, LB-1, W-2) 4 Total: ( For 4 wickets in 20 overs) 214 Fall of wickets: 1-67, 2-131, 3-212, 4-214 Bowling: Deepak Chahar 4-0-38-1, Tushar Deshpande 4-0-56-0, Maheesh Theekshana 4-0-36-0, Ravindra Jadeja 4-0-38-1, Matheesha Pathirana 4-0 -44-2.
Total: ( For 4 wickets in 20 overs) 214
Fall of wickets: 1-67, 2-131, 3-212, 4-214
Chennai Super Kings: Ruturaj Gaikwad c Rashid Khan b Noor Ahmad 26 Devon Conway c Sharma b Noor Ahmad 47 Shivam Dube not out 32 Ajinkya Rahane c Shankar b Sharma 27 Ambati Rayudu c & b Sharma 19 MS Dhoni c Miller b Sharma 0 Ravindra Jadeja not out 15 Extras: (LB-1, W-4) 5 Total: (For 5 wickets in 15 overs) 171 Fall of wickets: 1-74, 2-78, 3-117, 4-149, 5-149 Bowling: Mohammed Shami 3-0-29-0, Hardik Pandya 1-0-14-0, Rashid Khan 3-0-44-0, Noor Ahmad 3-0-17-2, Josh Little 2-0-30-0, Mohit Sharma 3-0-36-3.
Total: (For 5 wickets in 15 overs) 171
Fall of wickets: 1-74, 2-78, 3-117, 4-149, 5-149
Chennai Super Kings bowling: Mohammed Shami 3-0-29-0, Hardik Pandya 1-0-14-0, Rashid Khan 3-0-44-0, Noor Ahmad 3-0-17-2, Josh Little 2-0-30-0, Mohit Sharma 3-0-36-3
Chennai Super Kings: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devon Conway, Ajinkya Rahane, Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni(w/c), Deepak Chahar, Matheesha Pathirana, Tushar Deshpande, Maheesh Theekshana
Gujarat Titans: Wriddhiman Saha(w), Shubman Gill, Sai Sudharsan, Hardik Pandya(c), Vijay Shankar, David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Mohit Sharma, Noor Ahmad, Mohammed Shami