A journey of a lifetime and maybe the foundation blocks of a great franchise with a great legacy and a more than great debut season. This is what Hardik Pandya and his team have done this season. Right from ball 1 when Mohammad Shami bowled the ball of the season to get their campaign started with a wicket, Gujarat Titans never looked back from there.
They kept playing their brand of cricket and believing in themselves. They won their first game, then the second and then the third and people started noticing.
After the end of the mega auctions, if someone indirectly said that Gujarat Titans would be the champions of IPL, they would have been laughed off the room and maybe even trolled. But in that room itself, there was a man by the name of Ashish Nehra who knew what he was doing. After not having tasted so much success as a coach and a mentor with RCB this was his biggest rodeo of taking charge of a new franchise and guiding them to have a decent season.
And with coconut water in his hand and just a pen and paper, Nehraji outfoxed and outclassed everyone else. All the data and statistical knowledge of expert coaches from all over the world were nothing in front of Nehraji’s pen and paper. This is the power of simplicity. This is the power of being calm. The way he handled this young team and the atmosphere he and Hardik Pandya created made them a family. It made them brothers. And they became more than just a team, they became a family.
Maybe this is why they did not have a season where only two or three people played well and helped them win the season. It was a new face every time. Right from Saha who opened the innings to Mohammad Shami who came to bat at the end, there was a match-winner in every game from every position. Whenever they needed someone to put their hand up, someone was always there. Who that someone was – nobody cared. But together they all dared. They dared to dream the unthinkable and now they achieved the unthinkable. This was Gujarat Titan’s season. They finished at the top of the table, qualified for the finals comfortably and then won the finals comfortably.
One of the best things that happened to this year’s IPL was the induction of two new teams who not only added some more spice to an already spicy tournament but also the fact that these two teams started playing some of the best cricket we have seen in a long while. One team finished as runners up and the other finished third as far as the points table is concerned. A big win for the IPL. A bigger winner for Cricket.
Special mention to Hardik Pandya who came up with a superb display in the final taking three crucial wickets and also scoring those crucial runs in a tricky situation. This is why he was the man of the match. But not just for this game but the whole season, the maturity with which he handled his team and all the players were just outstanding. He has grown as a player and he has that captain’s brain. And yes, he has now played in 5 IPL finals and he has won all five of these finals. How’s that for a stat?
What was your favourite moment this season?
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