Hardik Pandya’s Gujarat Titans beat the Rajasthan Royals in a low-scoring final at their home ground, Motera Stadium. On a slow surface, Rajasthan scored 130 for 9 in 20 overs. Apart from openers Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler, none of the other batsmen could contribute significantly. Jos Buttler scored 39 while Jaiswal contributed 22. The likes of Sanju Samson, Devdutt Padikkal and Shimron Hetmyer were expected to do well but disappointed on the big night.
Gujarat captain Hardik Pandya was his side’s best bowler. The all-rounder picked up three wickets for only 17 runs. Sai Kishore picked up another two wickets while Mohammad Shami, Yash Dayal and Rashid Khan picked up one each.
Chasing 131 to win, the Titans didn’t have the smoothest of starts, losing a couple of quick wickets. But unbeaten knocks of 45 and 32 each from Shubman Gill and David Miller took the home team over the line. Earlier, skipper Pandya promoted himself on the batting order and built a partnership of 63 with opener Gill before falling for 34. Pandya’s move to promote himself on the batting order is being widely hailed, with fans calling him a perfect leader.
“Any day I will take the IPL trophy by sacrificing my 180 – 190 strike rate,” Pandya said at the post match conference.
"Hardik has been incredibly humble and eager to learn. He batted beautifully, taking responsibility which is different from what we have seen of him in the IPL," Gujarat’s batting coach Gary Kirsten said.
Image credit: IPL