CSK storm into 10th IPL final

Chennai Super Kings defeated Gujarat Titans by 15 runs in Qualifier 1 to advance to their tenth IPL championship. Gujarat lost for 157 while chasing 173, becoming the first IPL team to be bowled out. This was CSK’s first victory over Hardik Pandya’s group in four tries, and it couldn’t have come at a better moment.

A calm beginning without any incidents

It was expected that the CSK got off to a slow start given that the joint-highest wicket-takers of the tournament (Mohammed Shami and Rashid Khan) bowled half the overs in this session. The wicket of Ruturaj Gaikward, which was taken by Nalkande off a no-ball and followed by Gaikwad hitting a six off the free-hit and a boundary to give CSK’s innings some much-needed impetus, was the highlight of this session, though. When the powerplay ended, the openers still had a run rate of over 8 despite playing conservatively against Shami, Rashid, and Noor Ahmad. This has constructed the platform. To beat the master chasers of the IPL, they had to pick up speed. 

The wave that never materialized…

The batsmen are expected to “get in” and ramp up the heat when the start is consistent. With the exception of Gujarat Titans, a team that in essence consists of two Purple Cap holders and a Rashid Khan trainee. Twelve over have been completed, and even CSK may feel the strain mounting. Things became difficult when the “targetable” bowlers started keeping things close as well.

Against the odds, Gaikwad was the first to fall to Mohit Sharma. Rahane left when Dube’s cameo was cut short by Noor after he attempted a nasty slog and was knocked over. Conway had to start things off, but he too cracked under the pressure with a 33-ball 40. CSK’s steady start appeared to be in vain, and it was disintegrating. Furthermore, facing the chase masters of the IPL with a total of roughly 170 could be fatal.

More hurdles, but little respite for CSK

The wickets continued coming on a surface that looked to be gripping: Rayudu’s after he sent Rashid for a big six, then Dhoni’s after he silenced a loud Chennai crowd. However, Moeen Ali and Ravindra Jadeja struck a few lusty smashes on a sluggish surface, fighting a slow outfield that didn’t provide much value for shots either. CSK finished with a respectable 172. Given Gujarat’s track record, this had to be a piece of cake, right? 

A rocky start for Chasemasters

The first portion of the first inning was when the ball played the most accurately tonight since it was obvious that it was leaving the surface quite slowly. In contrast, Hardik Pandya was fooled by the ball pausing on him and cut a Theekshana delivery straight to Jadeja at point as Saha battled to score and ultimately fell to Deepak Chahar. The top-scoring team was scoring at fewer than 7 runs per over and had lost two powerplay wickets.

The parade starts

With a pair of sixes off Theekshana, Dasun Shanaka appeared to take it away and give the Titans impetus, but he quickly left for a reverse sweep off Jadeja, bringing in Miller to join Gill. The majority of the scoring had to be handled by this pair, but it wasn’t to be. Soon after, Jadeja knocked Miller over, and he left. Then it took place. Deepak Chahar’s dismissal of Shubman Gill was the game’s defining moment, one that produced a decibel level comparable to MS Dhoni walking out to bat at the Chepauk. Threats were eliminated one by one, including Rahul Tewatia’s in Theekshana’s final over, and GT was left with a score of 98-6.

The finishing blow

Even after Vijay Shankar was overthrown, Gujarat’s hopes were on thin ice. When Rashid Khan dismantled Tushar Deshpande, the bowlers appeared to be in self-destruct mode and were spitting wide balls (perhaps because of dew). Rashid Khan, though, managed to slice a wide yorker straight to a deep backward point to put the icing on the cake. Ultimately, Noor Ahmad and Mohammed Shami were unable to recover, and CSK cruised to victory.

What comes next?

We’re quickly running out of things to say here. Chennai Super Kings are the first side to reach the IPL 2023 final. The Gujarat Titans will face either the Mumbai Indians or the Lucknow Super Giants in Qualifier 2 on Friday (May 26) in Ahmedabad (whichever team wins the Eliminator on Wednesday, May 24). Chennai might meet any of those three teams in the final, and yes, it could be the Gujarat Titans again, this time in Ahmedabad.


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