'Lucky to win five finals': Hardik Pandya after Gujarat Titans had crowned as the champions of IPL 2022!

Finally, the IPL 2022 was all set for a wrap after the battle between the bests. A two-month-long journey with ten teams and 74 matches was waiting for this moment. After the league filtration and the playoff elimination, debutant Gujarat Titans took on the Rajasthan Royals in the final that was held on Sunday at Ahmedabad.

While Gujarat's campaign was impressive throughout the season, the Royals had entered the finals for the first time in fourteen years, they were the title winners of the inaugural IPL season in 2008. After a lot of battle, drama, emotions, disappointments and joy, the IPL has gone through a lot but it never failed to provide the much needed 'entertainment' to the cricket fanatics around the world. With many quality sides performing at their best to win the trophy, Titans and Royals had locked horns and the finals had attracted millions of eyes across and beyond the borders. 

Gujarat were the favourites as they were more organized in their all-round performance but you never know. With Union Home Minister Amit Shah in attendance to witness the game and Oscar-winning composer AR Rahman's live performance ahead of the game, the grandeur for the finals just got better. Amidst the well-packed arena, Rajasthan Royals won the toss and decided to bat first, but only to brace up for some crucial setbacks. 

Except for some initial fireworks from Jaiswal, it was a very slow start for the Rajasthan Royals. Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson tried to build a partnership but Sanju fell for 14. Buttler was gone for 39 and the Rajasthan batters started falling like a pack of cards. No one could make even a little impact with the bat. No one except Jaiswal and Buttler had breached the 20-run mark as the Royals were stumbling to score high.

On the other side of the crease, it was Gujarat's skipper Hardik Pandya who played some quickfire through his bowling. He was brilliant with the ball picking up three crucial wickets by giving up 17 runs in four overs. The Rajasthan Royals had found it difficult to purchase more runs from the Gujarat bowlers and the batters were reduced to just 130 runs in their 20 overs for the loss of 9 wickets. 

It was not going to be a tough chase for the Gujarat Titans but they lost Wriddhiman Saha early. Mathew Wade was dismissed soon after and Shubman Gill, after a few lucky escapes with the dropped catches, anchored Gujarat's innings. Hardik Pandya gave him great support scoring 34 runs and once he was dismissed, Gujarat Titans were at 86 for 3 and they seemed to be in some kind of trouble. 

It was during that time David Miller came to the rescue and built a winning momentum for the Titans. His wonderful partnership with Gill made sure that there was no way in which they could lose the battle. Eventually, the chasers touched down the target at the 19th over. With an emphatic win by 7 wickets, the Gujarat Titans became the champions in their very first IPL outing. Gujarat had a historical start right from the beginning and a heroic end. They finished the league as the top team, they were the first team to enter the finals, and now, they are the champions of IPL 2022. 

Being the debutant, Gujarat Titans had presented some phenomenal cricketing moments and turned down the predictions of the IPL fans by clinching the trophy. Gujarat's skipper Hardik Pandya can now wear a glorious feather in his cap by leading the team to an astounding victory. Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony after lifting the trophy, Pandya said, "This is the right example for any team in the world. If you can play as a team and build a good unit with genuine people around, wonders can happen."

"A lot of times we won the games as well, but we always spoke about what are the things we missed out on and how we can get better from here. Everyone chipped in. Count myself lucky winning five finals, it's been exciting. This is going to be a special one. We spoke about creating a legacy. Generation to come, everyone will remember this was the team who started this journey and to win the championship first year is very special", Pandya added, reminiscing about being a part of Mumbai Indians on four occasions of winning the finals. 

On the other hand, the journey of Sanju Samson's fleet of Royals was remarkable in this season as they were strongly advancing to the next level. Their trajectory was equally phenomenal and though they had lost the finals, they can relish that they had built a successful campaign till the end. Samson said, "This season was really special for us. Last two-three seasons all the fans, everyone was having a really hard time. Good to give them some happy moments. Really proud of my team. Great youngsters, great senior players. One-off day today but really proud of my team. Right from the auctions, we wanted to have quality bowlers, they win you tournaments." 

With his spectacular batting throughout the season, Jos Buttler was conferred with the award of Player of the Tournament and he said, "Exceeded all my expectations apart from today- the trophy we really wanted. Disappointed with that. Big congratulations to Hardik and the team. Deserving champions. My goals are to play my role for the team and try and react on the day regarding what the game is asking me to do. In good teams, you have a lot of trust in everyone. We have huge trust in everyone in our team. Very grateful for the opportunity to play today. Disappointed - that's completely natural. Have lost plenty of finals in my career, unfortunately. Today's been an amazing occasion, been a fantastic tournament."

"Having had two years without crowds, to come here and play has been an absolute privilege. And for all the young guys in our team to soak it up, and use the hurt from today to push on further for the rest of your career", he added. With no close contender in the highest runs, Buttler has also won the Orange Cap by scoring 863 runs with four centuries. Yuzvendra Chahal has won the Purple Cap for more wickets as he had taken 27 wickets in 17 matches. Interestingly, both these cap winners were from the Rajasthan Royals, a rejoicing factor indeed for the runners-up. Finally, the champions are here so is the end of the IPL 2022.