Defending Champions Gujarat Titans started the TATA IPL 2023 on a winning note as they beat Chennai Super Kings by five wickets in the opening match at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Friday.
Shubman Gill’s brilliant 63 off 36 balls helped the Titans chase down 179 in a tight finish in Ahmedabad after Ruturaj Gaikwad had lit up the Narendra Modi Stadium with a whirlwind 92 off 50 balls.
Rashid Khan played a crucial role for GT as well with figures of 2/26 from four overs and hitting 10 off 3 balls to take the Titans past the finish line along with Rahul Tewatia (15 off 14).
Chasing 179, Gujarat Titans got off to a brisk start. Saha and Gill went after the first ever Impact player of the IPL – Tushar Deshpande – who replaced Ambati Rayudu at the start of the second innings, as they hit a six and a couple of fours to make it 15 runs off the second over.
Saha played the aggressor’s role as he smashed a pull for a six off Chahar and the heaved one over mid-wicket off debutant Rajvardhan Hangargekar for a four. The debut though bounced back hard to dismiss Saha (25) three balls later as Shivam Dube pouched a brilliant catch at third man.
Gujarat Titans introduced B Sai Sudharsan as their Impact Player as he replaced Kane Williamson who injured himself while trying to take a catch on the boundary line. The Impact player made an impact straightaway as he flicked the first ball he faced through square leg for four. Gill then gained momentum as he hit a four and a six off Deshpande to bring up GT’s fifty. Sudharsan and Gill hit a four each off Mitchell Santner to end the Powerplay well as GT reached 65/1.
Gill and Sudharsan kept the scoreboard ticking and brought up their 50-run stand. CSK needed a wicket at this point. Dhoni brought back Hangargekar and the move worked as he had Sudharsan caught behind for 22.
Gill, though, continued to play his shots as he swept one for four off Jadeja and then lofted the next one over extra cover for a spectacular six. He brought up his fifty off just 30 balls. While Gill was cruising, at the other end, CSK got a big wicket as Jadeja, who had bowled really well, cleaned up GT captain Pandya for 8 as he missed his slog sweep. The CSK all-rounder finished with excellent figures of 4-0-28-1.
Gill and Shankar got together and added 27 brisk runs off 17 balls but then Dhoni brought back Deshpande in the 15th over the another of his bowling changes worked as he got the big wicket of Gill (63 off 36) after the GT opener had hit him for a six off the previous ball.
Santner and Chahar then bowled tight overs and gave away just seven and four runs respectively to build the pressure and bring the equation to 30 needed off 18 balls. Hangargekar then gave away just one run off the first three balls of the 18th over, Vijay Shankar released the pressure valve as he thumped a pull over deep mid-wicket for a six. The debutant CSK all-rounder, though, hit back hard and outfoxed Shankar with a slower one to have him caught brilliantly by Santner at long off. Hangargekar bowled a superb over to give away just seven and take a wicket as well. With 23 needed off 11, Chahar strayed one down the leg side, Tewatia missed his flick and it raced away for four leg byes. After a single, Rashid Khan got off the mark in style to release the pressure as he hammered one over deep mid-wicket for a powerful six and then slashed one over short third man for a four next ball to bring the equation down to 8 needed off 6 balls.
Deshpande started off the final over with a WIDE. Tewatia, the finisher then launched one over extra cover for a six and finished the match off in style smashing a four down the ground to win the game for Gujarat by five wickets. Rajvardhan Hangargekar was the shining light for CSK with figures of 3/36 on IPL debut.
Earlier, Gujarat Titans captain Hardik Pandya won the toss and opted to bowl. Kane Williamson and Josh Little were handed the Gujarat Titans caps. They named B Sai Sudharsan, Jayant Yadav,
Mohit Sharma, Abhinav Manohar and Srikar Bharat as substitutes. CSK, on the other hand, handed debut to all-rounder Rajvardhan Hangargekar and named Tushar Deshpande, Subhranshu Senapati, Shaik Rasheed, Ajinkya Rahane, Nishant Sindhu as their substitutes. Mohd. Shami started off well for GT and got a hint of movement early on as he beat Devon Conway’s outside edge and gave away just two runs in the first over. Ruturaj Gaikwad then opened the boundary account as he flicked one through mid-wicket off Hardik Pandya in the second over and it raced away. Two balls later, he blazed one through covers for the second four of the over.
Shami was bowling beautifully and he scalped the first wicket of TATA IPL 2023 in the next over as he cleaned up Conway with a beauty to register his 100th IPL wicket.
Ruturaj though continued to attack as he pulled the first delivery from Josh Little for a six over fine leg and thumped the next ball through backward point for a four. Moeen Ali then got off the mark as he slashed one through point for a four to make it a 15-run over. Moeen then took the attack to Shami as he smacked two fours and a six off a Free-Hit to garner 17 runs from the over.
There was drama in the next over as Hardik Pandya introduced Rashid Khan into the attack. The umpire gave Moeen out LBW off the third ball but the batter reviewed it and replays showed it was pitching outside leg. The decision was reversed. Moeen then smashed the next one straight back past Rashid for four. Rashid though bounced back to have Moeen caught behind off the next ball as CSK reached 51/2 at the end of the Powerplay.
Ruturaj though went from strength to strength as he unfurled a couple of beautiful lofts for consecutive sixes off Pandya. He was however lucky to survive as there was a mix up with Stokes but Gill missed his direct hit. Gaikwad had given up.
Rashid then struck a crucial blow as she had Stokes caught behind after the England all-rounder had smacked the previous ball down the ground for a four.
Ruturaj though was dealing in sixes as he welcomed Alzarri Joseph into the attack with a well-timed flick for a six over deep square leg. He then brought up his fifty in style off just 23 balls with another six as he heaved one over deep square leg for a massive maximum three balls later. It was his fastest IPL half-century and he ended the over with a six as he heaved one over deep backward square leg to make it 18 off the over. The CSK opener brought up his team’s 100 as he pulled one over deep square leg for a huge six off Little. The six counter continued as he lofted one over wide long off, off Yash Dayal. Rayudu joined the party as he swung one over deep square leg off Dayal for the second six of the over.
Gujarat Titans received a blow in the next over as Kane Williamson injured his leg trying to pull off a catch on the boundary line via a spectacular effort.
Josh Little finally broke the 51-run partnership as she cleaned up Rayudu for 12 to scalp his maiden IPL wicket. The wicket helped GT pull things back in the next three overs which went for just 19.
Gaikwad broke the shackles as he pulled one over deep mid-wicket for yet another six off Rashid. He couldn’t get to his century though as he was caught brilliantly by Shubman Gill at long on for 92 (50), off a high full toss from Joseph. One brought two as Joseph sent back Jadeja in the same over and finished with figures of 2/33 after going for 18 in his first over.
Shivam Dube, who had struggled to time the ball, then hammered a pull over deep square leg off Shami for a massive 97m six. But Shami continued with the short ball approach and bounced Dube out the next ball.
Dhoni then provided the final flourish as he smashed a six and a four off Dayal in the final over to propel CSK to 178/7. Tushar Deshpande became the first Impact Player of the IPL as he replaced Ambati Rayudu at the start of the second innings of the match.