AHMEDABAD, India: Chennai Super Kings won a sensational Indian Premier League final against the defending champions Gujarat Titans off the last ball on Tuesday.
Chennai were squeezed by medium-pacer Mohit Sharma in the last over to need 10 runs off the final two balls. Sharma got his length wrong and Ravindra Jadeja hit a straight six. Sharma then got his line wrong and Jadeja hit a four to fine leg to complete a stunning five-wicket win.
“I was just thinking I need to swing hard, as much as I can,” Jadeja said. “Where the ball will go, I was not thinking about that. I was backing myself and looking to hit straight, because I know Mohit can bowl those slower balls.”
Victory gave Chennai a record-equaling fifth title, and gave retiring batter Ambati Rayudu a sixth IPL title, tying him with Rohit Sharma as the league’s most successful players.
“It’s a fairytale finish,” Rayudu said. “I’m fortunate to have played in really great sides. I can smile for the rest of my life.”
The league needed three days to play the final. It was washed out on Sunday, started late Monday and finished after 1:30 a.m. local time on Tuesday. But it was worth it.
Gujarat was made to bat first and posted 214-4 — the highest ever total in a final — highlighted by 96 from Sai Sudharsan.
Rain halted Chennai’s chase in the first over for nearly 2 1/2 hours, and reduced the target to 171 in 15 overs. Chennai needed every single ball to make a thrilling 171-5.
A fantastic launch was shared by openers Devon Conway, 47 off 25 balls, and Ruturaj Gaikwad, 26 off 16. They raised a half-century stand within the four-over powerplay, including 17 runs in legspinner Rashid Khan’s first over.
Spinner Noor Ahmad removed both openers in the same over but Chennai kept coming hard. Ajinkya Rahane added 27 off 13, and Rayudu punished a loose Mohit Sharma with 6-4-6 before he was caught and bowled next ball.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni also fell to Mohit Sharma, for a duck, leaving Shivam Dube, an unbeaten 32 off 21, with Jadeja.
Dhoni, Chennai’s only captain in its history, said after leading the team to a 10th final and fifth title that he will keep going.
“The easy thing for me to say is, ‘Thank you,’ and retire,” he said “But the hard thing to do is to work hard for nine months and try to play one more IPL season. … The amount of love I have received from CSK fans, it would be a gift for them to play one more season.”
Mohammed Shami bowled a brilliant penultimate over to give Mohit Sharma a cushion of defending 13 runs in the final over. Mohit Sharma, who ended up with 3-36, conceded just three runs off the first four deliveries until Jadeja’s last-gasp heroics.
Earlier, Chennai’s early lapses in the field gave Gujarat momentum. Deepak Chahar missed catching chances against Shubman Gill and Wriddhiman Saha.
Gill, who top-scored in the tournament with 890 runs, made 39 off 20 before he stumped by Dhoni. Saha made 54.
Sudharsan sharing two half-century stands; 64 with Saha and 81 off 33 with captain Hardik Pandya.
Sudharsan smashed eight boundaries and six sixes and dominated the death overs. He was in sight of a deserving century in the final over until pacer Matheesha Pathirana pinned with a superb yorker.
“We tick a lot of boxes and we play with our heart,” Pandya said. “We’ve always been a team that has stood together and no one gave up. We win together and we lose together, maybe one of those games today.
“I’m very happy for him (Dhoni). Destiny had this written for him. If I had to lose, I don’t mind losing to him. Good things happen to good people.”