With more than a lakh fan cheering them vehemently, and their anthem “Aava De” (Bring It On!) blaring at full volume at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Sunday night, Shubhman Gill, who shot an unbeaten 45 (43b, 3×4, 1×6) finished the proceedings in style for the Titans, firing Obed McCoy for a six to seal a seven-wicket triumph in the final against a heartbroken Rajasthan Royals.
While Gill anchored the chase to perfection, the Titans owed their victory in the apex clash to Pandya, who produced a first class act with the ball, taking three for 17 to limit the Royals at just 130 for nine.
Chasing just 131, the Titans were in trouble when they slipped to 23 for two in the fifth, but Pandya then swung the bat in, producing a vital 34-run (30b, 3×4, 1×6) shot. The Indian all-rounder added 63 balls in 53 for the third wicket with Gill to calm his side’s nerves. Pandya’s departure – caught sliding by Yashasvi Jaiswal off Yuzvendra Chahal – brought some cheer for the Royals, but their joy was short-lived as Gill held on tight to one end, while David ‘Killer’ Miller (32 steps out, 19b, 3×4, 1×6) resulted in the finishing act one last time in IPL-2022.
Playing at home for the first time, the Titans experienced a sweet homecoming. Meanwhile, playing well below potential, looking completely overpowered and discolored with the bat, and relying too much on Jos Buttler, the Royals ran out of gas at the finish line.
Saving his best IPL show with the ball for the final, Pandya unleashed four fine fast bowling overs to leave the Royals breathless. He scalped counterpart Sanju Samson (14) with just his second ball, before following up with the big wicket from Jos Buttler (39, 35, 5×4) and then Shimron Hetmeyer (11) to rip the heart out of the Royals’ innings. . For a few years the 28-year-old has been under the scanner for not bowling, or bowling too less, but on Sunday night he gave his best for a long time which should delight India coaches no end.
As Samson mistimed a jumper to be caught by Sai Kishore, who ran from the third man, Buttler, again looking dangerous, edged a ball while trying to land it on the third man. Hetmeyer became Pandya’s third wicket when a leading edge of the West Indian’s bat returned to the bowler.
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