Hardik Pandya’s superb all-round effort helped Gujarat Titans win the Indian Premier League in their first season with a seven-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals.
To restrict the Royals to 130-9, Titans captain Pandya took 3-17, including the prize scalp of England’s Jos Buttler for 39, before hitting 34 from 30 balls.
Shubman Gill top-scored for India with 45 runs not out, and the Indian batsman hammered the opening ball of the 18th over for six runs to win the match in front of an estimated 105,000 spectators in Ahmedabad.
The Titans’ victory was built on a strong batting lineup: Mohammed Shami, Rashid Khan, Lockie Ferguson, and Hardik Pandya combined for a great bowling attack, while Gill, David Miller, and Matthew Wade provided batting support.
However, assembling a good collection of players does not ensure success, and Pandya, despite being the team’s first captain in the IPL, has led them from the front with skill.
On the largest stage, he took the three prize wickets of Buttler, opposing captain Sanju Samson, and Shimron Hetmyer, and he rotated his bowlers brilliantly.
Rashid Khan of Afghanistan was one of the best white-ball bowlers in the world, taking 1-18.
He quietly nullified the Royals’ bowling attack alongside Gill when the batting stagnated at 23-2, preventing a complete collapse.
Despite his team’s failure to win the tournament, England’s Buttler was awarded the Orange Cap, which is given to the highest run-scorer.
He scored 863 runs in 17 innings, second only to India’s Virat Kohli, who amassed 973 runs in a single IPL season.
While he was unable to duplicate his match-winning 106 not out, which propelled his team to the final, his reputation as one of the most lethal T20 batters in the world has grown significantly.
Shane Warne, who helped the Royals win the inaugural IPL season in 2008, is remembered in this emotional tribute.