Vintage David Miller and captain Hardik Pandya inspired Gujarat Titans to reach the final of IPL 2022 on their debut season with a 7-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals at Eden Gardens, Kolkata. Pandya and Miller shared an unbeaten 106-run stand for the fourth wicket to help Gujarat chase down the 189-run target with 3 balls to spare. Miller turned back the clock to score blistering 68 runs* off 38 balls. The southpaw struck 5 sixes and 3 fours. Pandya scored unbeaten 40 runs off 27 balls as his innings was laced with five fours.
Gujarat needed 16 runs in the final over and Miller activated his ‘killer mode’ to get the job done. The southpaw finished the match in the first three balls by smashing three back-to-back sixes. David Miller has always performed an unenviable role in T20 cricket: that of a finisher without an added bowling skill. It is by its nature a job where you fail more often than succeed. You don’t get to chalk up the big runs to seduce the decision makers with traditional stats. And when you go to play in leagues not in your country, you find it difficult to get one of the limited overseas slots.
Chasing a formidable target of 189, Gujarat Titans lost their in-form opener Wriddhiman Saha on the second ball as Trent Boult managed to get an edge from the batter’s bat to dismiss him on a duck. Mattew Wade came out to bat at number 3 as he joined hands with Shubman Gill to help Gujarat recover from the early blow. The duo shared a 72-run stand for the second wicket to give their team an upper hand. However, a horrible miscommunication between the two led to Gill’s run-out on 35. Wade also joined him in the pavilion soon after getting caught by Buttler near the boundary line on Obed McCoy’s delivery.
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Pandya and Miller revived the chase after double jolts and helped Gujarat reach the final on their debut season. Interestingly, the final will be Gujarat’s first match at their home stadium – Narendra Modi Stadium. It was a forgettable night for Rajasthan Royals spin duo Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal who remained wicketless. While Boult and McCoy shared a wicket each.
Earlier, riding high on luck, Buttler returned to form and smashed 89 runs to help Rajasthan post a challenging 188 for 6 against a high-quality Titans bowling attack. Buttler struggled miserably against the spinners but he completely bossed the pacers with his blistering shots. The current Orange Cap holder also had luck on his side as Titans fielders failed to grab his catch thrice. David Miller managed to crash a four in the over of Obed McCoy but he did really well to limit Gujarat Titans to just 7 runs. GT 172/3 in 19 over. They need 16 runs from the final over now.
First up, it was skipper Sanju Samson’s swagger that was on full display as the Royals skipper, seemingly hurt by the latest selections snub, responded in style with a 26-ball 47 (5×4, 3×6). Sensational stuff from David Miller. Gujarat Titans needed 16 off the final over. And Miller clobbers three sixes off the first three deliveries of the over bowled by Prasidh Krishna – over long-on and then twice over midwicket. Gujarat Titans chase overhaul the target of 189 in 19.3 overs to finish with 191/3. Miller stays unbeaten on 68 off 38. Hardik Pandya 40* off 27.
It was not the best of days for Gujarat bowlers as apart from Rashid Khan (0/15 in 4 overs) and Hardik Pandya (2/14 in 2 overs), all of them leaked runs with a 10-plus economy rate. The final of the IPL 2022 will be played on May 29 at Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad.