Gujarat Titans- A fairytale of IPL 2022
No one would have noted GT to be a force to reckon with, but they found different match-winners in every single game to prove that sky is their only limit.
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Finally, there came an IPL finale night in five years where fans and the world witnessed a team other than the mighty Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings hanging on to the glory. The evening of 29th May was surreal and super surreal for the young skipper Hardik Pandya who rose to the occasion perfectly while carrying the expectations and dreams of thousands, who lit the majestic Narendra Modi Stadium.
The 104,859 (to be precise) who turned up at the venue were well aware of the fairy tale season the Gujarat Titans were having, but still wouldn’t have signed up for a magnificent show on the final night. It would be an understatement to say that the season was special for the Titans as they shush the noise from every corner and in every aspect to stand tall in their maiden season itself.
Though the special factors to note down in GT’s stupendous journey were endless, a promising young skipper gifting an inordinate victory to his fellow Gujaratis, on their home ground, with his all-round show stands out. None would have noted, one of the new entrants to be a force to reckon with, but they kept finding different match-winners in every single game, proving that sky is their only limit.
Storming their way through the final while topping the table, Gujarat stunned Samson and his men in the ultimate clash to become only the second side to win the title in their maiden season and too in front of the side, which achieved the same feat for the very first time in 2008.
What worked for Gujarat Titans?
Hardik Pandya moved into the new IPL season with a new franchise and new responsibilities, to prove a point, but the unsaid baggage he carried was way too heavy for people to know. Not many would have noted him as a threat at the start while leading an average-looking team on the paper, with no prior captaincy experience at this level. Moreover, failing to flaunt his best showing with the ball in the last few years, critics disapproved of him sporting a perfect all-rounder’s cap. But guess what?
Not only did he turn out to be the highest run-getter for GT in the season with 487 runs under his belt, but also bagged his IPL best bowling figures of 3/17 on the night of the finale, tearing apart critics who wrote him off in the bowling department.
Rahul Tewatia– The trailer of what the Haryana all-rounder is capable of, was shown well enough by him in the IPL 2020 season when he smoked Sheldon Cottrell for five sixes in an over. The story was no different this season as he finished the game successfully for his franchise on more than one occasion, the highlight being his two straight sixes off the last two balls against PBKS when GT needed 12 runs to win the game.
His finishing abilities became so obvious and known to all that after the Titans won the title, Harsha Bhogle stated that ‘Entire Gujarat did a Tewatia today’.
Wriddhiman Saha- India’s senior wicketkeeper-batter entered the season after facing some turbulence on the professional front and no one would have thought him to do well in the shortest format of the game. Pitching in with vital contributions for GT, Saha collected 317 runs to his name, his second-best to the ‘362 runs’ that he accumulated in the 2014 IPL.
David Miller and Shubman Gill- Both the players held on to consistent lines throughout the season to inch closer to the 500-run club. Miller (481 runs) and Gill (483 runs) owned the season like Kings but their class leveled up as these two were the ones who stood out in the middle when GT reigned superior in Ahmedabad. Gill’s season-winning six marked the beautiful wrap to the Titan’s IPL 2022 journey.
Rashid Khan– The heroics of the established star spinner is well known to all and he did the same this season too while picking 19 wickets, conceding at 6.60. However, the cherry on the cake was Khan’s finesse with the bat lower down the order, the cameos that changed the games for his team.
The coincidence and luck factor for Gujarat Titans
‘There was a point to prove not to others but to myself’ – MS Dhoni had said after clinching the 2011 World Cup and it looked like Hardik Pandya imbibed the same essence to lead GT to glory. While it was the complete teamwork that sailed their boat in the season, Gary Kirsten’s presence as mentor turned up quite lucky for the side, a stroke of luck that he carried from 2011 itself.
It was Nehra and Kirsten yet again, who smiled broadly with Titans this time while smiling with India back in 2011. The level of coincidence (from India’s 2011 WC win) jumped to the next level when the no. 7 jersey brought victory for the side with a magnificent six in the stands while pushing on back foot Lasith Malinga and Kumar Sangakkara’s side to conclude their fairy tale saga.