Hardik Pandya excelled with bat and ball to power the Gujarat Titans to the IPL title in their debut season, after outclassing Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets at the Narendra Modi stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday, May 29, 2022.
Hardik showed he is nearly back to his best with the ball, with splendid figures of 3/17 in four overs, which went a long way in restricting Royals to a below-par 130/9 after they had elected to bat first.
With the bat too, Hardik brought all his experience into play with a hardworking innings of 34 from 30 balls to rescue his team after a couple of early wickets.
The all-rounder, who has been battling injuries for the last couple of years, also excelled as a captain with shrewd bowling changes during the Royals innings.
Despite not bowling throughout the tournament, Hardik was confident enough to bring himself into the attack at a crucial stage, in the ninth over. He took just two deliveries to strike when he dismissed Sanju Samson for 14 as his opposite number looked to go on the attack.
Jos Buttler was in great touch coming into the game and looked set to play another important knock. Hardik generated some extra bounce off the short of good length delivery. Buttler (39) got a thin edge as he tried to run the ball down to third man.
Shimron Hetmyer looked to attack Hardik with a couple of boundaries, but it was the Gujarat captain, who had the last laugh, as he got the West Indian caught and bowled for 11 and ensured that there was no chance of recovery for the Royals.
Gujarat's run chase didn't start on the right note as Wriddhiman Saha (5) and Matthew Wade (8) perished early.
Hardik got the Gujarat innings back on track in the company of Shubman Gill as the duo put on 63 runs for the third wicket to keep the Royals bowlers at bay.
Hardik did well to guide the young Gill, who looked impatient at the start of his innings, in the middle overs.
Hardik took time to get going before he broke the shackles, hitting Ravichandran Ashwin for a four and a six in the 12th over.
After his dismissal for 34 in the 14th over, David Miller provided the finishing touches with a quickfire 32 from 19 balls, while Gill steered the Gujarat Titans to its maiden IPL title, with an unbeaten 45 from 43 balls.