Miller-Pandya Catapult Gujarat In IPL-2022 Final: Rajasthan Can have Another Go in The Ahmedabad Q-2!

Led by captain Hardik Pandya and David Miller the No.1 Gujarat Titans (GT) at the league stage beat Rajasthan Royals (RR) by 7 wickets in the thrilling Qualifer-1 at the packed Eden Gardens, Kolkata tonight and catapult their team in the IPL-2022 Final, playing in the IPL as one of the two newbie franchises. In the last over by Prasidh Krishan GT needed 16 runs to get into the Final and Miller hit the first ball to a towering six.  Tensions ran high for both teams. But the South African southpaw had none of it and hit the second ball too over the boundary almost nonchalantly, reducing the equation to 4 in 4 balls. And then the third consecutive six in the third ball and all was over. No.1 has thus kept up its persistently classy performance throughout and at this stage looks to be the clear favorites to lift the trophy.


Chasing a rather stiff target of 189 runs in 20 overs the consistently successful opener Wriddhiman Saha got himself caught behind for a duck in just the second ball of the first over by Boult at his home ground Kolkata. The other opener Shubman Gill and Matthew Wade took charge, but Gill (35 in 21) was unfortunately runout at the team score of 72 in the 8th over.  Soon after Buttler took a brilliant boundary line catch to dismiss Wade (35 in 30) off the bowling of Obed McCoy. But then David Miller and Hardik Pandya took full charge of the proceedings neutralizing the spinning duo of Ashwin-Chahal.

Earlier, put into bat, a glorious innings of 89 runs in 56 balls by Orange cap Jos Buttler with the highest individual 629 runs in 14 matches at the league stage (a record 3 tons and 3 half tons) has gone up in smoke as the momentum could not be maintained by other batsmen except for Sanju Samson (47 in 26) and Devdutt Padikkal (28 in 20). The turning point for them was that they were restrained effectively by the GT bowlers including prominently Rashid Khan in the middle overs, and Buttler singlehandedly took them to a score of 185/6 in seemingly the last ball of the innings when he ran himself out rushing for a suicidal second run. And then a comedy of sorts. The Umpire declared a no-ball and a free hit. Ashwin came to take the free hit with Parag at the other end. As Ashwin left the ball go as it was a wide Parag rushed to the other end thinking the former had failed to connect and got himself run out. Finally, Ashwin could hit the free hit and added a couple of runs taking the score to 188. In the chase by GT several dropped catches by RR also did not help their cause at all. 


RR under the captaincy of the late legend Shane Warne had won the inaugural IPL-2008 Final despite being billed as the weakest team of the tournament. After that, they qualified for the play-offs only twice till 2015 and got mired in spot-fixing controversies that year getting banned for two years from the IPL along with CSK apart from their sloppy performances after 2018 and an unending change of captains. This time they’ve been playing much better thanks mainly to the batting mainstay of Jos Buttler and captain Sanju Samson with spirited bowling by Trent Boult, Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal. Of course, RR can have another go in the Qualifer-2 in Ahmedabad on 27th May when they’ll meet the winners of the Eliminator between LSG and RCB tomorrow at the Eden.


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