NEW DELHI: Debutants Gujarat Titans were crowned the Indian Premier League (IPL) champions yesterday after they capped a fairytale season by beating inaugural champions Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets in front of more than 100,000 fans in their home ground in Ahmedabad.
Gujarat captain Hardik Pandya conjured up a stellar all-round display as his team clinched the low-scoring final with 11 balls to spare.
Opting to bat first, 2008 champions Rajasthan never got going and posted a below-par 130-9 with Jos Buttler, this IPL’s leading scorer, top-scoring for them with a rather subdued 39.
Pandya (3-17) led by example with the ball, claiming the wickets of counterpart Sanju Samson, opener Buttler and Rajasthan’s middle-order
lynchpin Shimron Hetmyer.
Gujarat lost Wriddhiman Saha and Matthew Wade cheaply but Pandya combined with Shubman Gill in a 63-run stand to help Gujarat overcome a slow start.
Yuzvendra Chahal dismissed Pandya for 34 runs to inject some excitement into the match but Gill’s risk-free accumulation of runs and David Miller’s quickfire 32 not out helped Gujarat to romp home in the penultimate over.
Opener Gill remained unbeaten on 45, sealing Gujarat’s victory with a six and celebrating it by removing his helmet and letting out a roar.
“I wanted to show what I had worked hard for,” Pandya, who also bagged the player-of-the-match award, said of his bowling efforts. “Today was the day I saved the best for.”
Englishman Buttler was adjudged the tournament’s Most Valuable Player for his tally of 863 runs from 17 matches, including a record-equalling four centuries.