The final showdown of IPL 2023 lived up to
its billing as the Chennai Super Kings edged out the Gujarat Titans by the
barest of margins to win their fifth title. With ten runs needed off the final
two deliveries, Ravindra Jadeja answered the call for Chennai, smashing a six
and a four against Mohit Sharma to crown the Super Kings as champions in one of
the most dramatic finales in the competition’s history.
The title clash ebbed and flowed after a
two-hour rain delay gave Chennai a daunting revised target of 171 to win in 15
overs. MS Dhoni’s men started strong as Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway set
the platform for CSK, adding 72 runs in the first six.
Noor Ahmad led Gujarat’s response,
dismissing both openers in the space of four deliveries, and conceding just 17
runs in his three-over spell through the middle. However, Chennai kept
themselves in the hunt thanks to priceless cameos from Shivam Dube, Ajinkya
Rahane, and Ambati Rayudu, who continued the opener’s momentum to leave CSK
within touching distance of the required rate.
Rahane and Rayudu added a combined 46 off
21 deliveries, while Dube smashed two sixes off the final two balls off Rashid
Khan’s spell, taking the equation down to 38 off the final three overs. The
twists and turns continued to unravel with Mohit Sharma dismissing Rayudu and
MS Dhoni in consecutive deliveries and nailing four pin-point yorkers to start
the final over.
However, Ravindra Jadeja had the final say
for the Chennai Super Kings, flipping the script off the final two deliveries
by hitting a pair of boundaries to lead CSK to an unbelievable victory in front
of 75,000 people in Ahmedabad.
Earlier in the day, Gujarat posted a
menacing total of 214 thanks to a sensational 96 off 47 balls from Sai
Sudarshan. Shubman Gill powered the Titans to a strong start, continuing his
fine form this season to put on 62 runs in the powerplay alongside Saha, but
his stay at the crease ended on 39 after an electric stumping from MS Dhoni.
Coming in at number three, Sai Sudarshan
ensured that the Titans didn’t feel Gill’s absence, announcing his arrival on
the biggest stage with an astounding display of stroke-making. Sudarshan took
his time to get going, adding just 10 of his first 12 deliveries. However, the
left-hander cut loose in the 12th over against Matheesha Pathirana, setting the
Titans up for a grandstand finish.
Sudarshan dominated the CSK bowlers at the
death after Saha’s dismissal on 54, smashing Theekshana for a pair of sixes in
the 15th over before creaming Tushar Desphande for four consecutive boundaries.
Sudarshan also dominated the most effective death bowler in the tournament,
Matheesha Pathirana, carting the Sri Lankan for two sixes in the final over to
lead Gujarat to 214 for 4 in their 20 overs.
His efforts, though, went in vain as CSK
mowed down the rain-reduced target to match Mumbai’s tally of five IPL