In the most attended (1,04,859 fans) cricket match in the history of the sport the Gujarat Titans defeated the Rajasthan Royals to be crowned IPL 2022 champions in their debut season. Before that the Rajasthan Royals comprehensively beat the Royal Challengers Bangalore in a virtual semifinal. Cricket analyst Rahul Patil analyses all the action from the last two matches of IPL 2022.

Playoff Qualifier 2
Rajasthan Royals 161 for 3 (Jos Buttler 106*, Hazlewood 2/23) beat Royals Challengers Bangalore 157 for 8 (Rajat Patidar 58, Prasidh Krishna 3/22, Obed McCoy 3/23)

On paper this was a mouthwatering contest. Rajasthan hurting after the loss against the Gujarat Titans vs Bangalore riding high on their success against the Lucknow Super Giants. Rajasthan had Jos Buttler (this year’s highest run scorer in the IPL) whereas Bangalore had Virat Kohli (IPL’s all-time highest run scorer ever). Rajasthan had Yuzuvendra Chahal (this year’s highest wicket taker in the IPL) whereas Bangalore had Harshal Patel (IPL’s all-time highest wicket taker in a single season ever). But in reality the mouthwatering contest failed miserably to live up to all the hype.

To win a long tournament like the IPL requires a combined team effort. At some point of time each of the 11 individuals have to put up their hand and do their bit. Unfortunately for Bangalore this year a number of their big players failed to do so. Captain Faf du Plessis, Virat Kohli and Glenn Maxwell all had poor returns with the bat compared to their own high standards and the same applied to Mohammed Siraj with the ball. Veteran Dinesh Karthik had a terrific season with the bat and Harshal Patel was his usual professional self with the ball but it just wasn’t enough to take them any further than they managed to and Bangalore’s hunt for that elusive first IPL title continues.

Batting first in a knock out game RCB failed to put on a fighting total due to some accurate and smart bowling by all the Rajasthan bowlers. India international Prasidh Krishna rocked RCB early with the wicket of Virat Kohli and later returned to dismiss Dinesh Karthik cheaply as well. He finished with impressive match figures of 4-0-22-3. West Indian international Obed McCoy shared the spoils with Krishna picking up 3 for 23 himself. RCB’s surprise package from the last game Rajat Patidar once again shone with the bat with an eye catching 58 of 42 balls. Although their 2022 season is over RCB have definitely discovered a gem in Patidar who looks like a long term prospect. Thanks to him RCB managed to set Rajasthan a target of 158 to win. Way below par but something to bowl at.

If RCB had any hopes of defending 157 those hopes were squashed by the Rajasthan openers from the first over itself. Jos Buttler and Yashasvi Jaiswal put on 61 for the 1st wicket in just 31 balls to signal their intentions. When Jaiswal departed Buttler took the reins in his own hands and singlehandedly destroyed everything that was thrown at him. Before hitting the winning runs in the 19th over Buttler brought up his 4th hundred of this year’s tournament to match Virat Kohli’s record that he set in 2016. Buttler now has scored 824 runs in this year’s IPL which is the second highest aggregate ever. He requires a further 150 runs to break Virat Kohli’s record of 973 runs that he set in the 2016 tournament. Buttler has one innings left to break Kohli’s record and I wonder what the odds are paying for that to happen J

 

Rajasthan now face the Gujarat Titans in the season finale. Having dedicated the 2022 season to their first and only title winning captain Shane Warne it would be a fitting farewell to the legend if they could win the title again. The world stopped spinning when Warnie left us in March this year but I am sure he is still inspiring and cheering on the Royals from the heavens above. I hope on Monday morning they can win it for Warnie the legend.

The Final

Gujarat Titans (Shubhman Gill 45*, Hardik Pandya 34, Boult 1/14, Chahal 1/20) beat Rajasthan Royals 130 for 9 (Buttler 39, Jaiswal 22, Hardik Pandya 3/17, Rashid Khan 1/18)

“They didn’t play to participate. They played to win and dominate.” In their debut IPL season the Gujarat Titans capped off an impressive campaign by comprehensively beating the Rajasthan Royals in the final. It is a remarkable story of a team which wasn’t given a chance by any of the “Pundits” including myself at the start of the tournament.

While there was joy in the Gujarat camp there was disappointment in the Rajasthan camp. So near yet so far. A lot of emotions as well because they so desperately wanted to win it for the “First Royal” Shane Warne. But regardless of today’s result watching from the heavens above I am sure Warnie would have been proud of his team and their 2022 campaign.

Runs on the board in a big final are worth their weight in gold which is why probably RR captain Sanju Samson decided to bat first when he won the toss. The Royals got off to a steady start with in form openers Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler laying a good foundation. But from a decent position of 60 for 1 after 8.1 overs the Royals innings lost its way and never recovered. GT captain Hardik Pandya broke the back of the RR innings in a terrific spell of fast bowling in the middle of the innings. He picked up the key wickets of Buttler, Samson and Hetmyer and finished with figures of 4-0-17-3. Pandya was ably supported by the ever reliable Rashid Khan who himself had figures of 4-0-18-1. I have said this many times before but will repeat it once again that as far as T20 cricket is concerned Rashid Khan is the absolute GOAT (Greatest of All Time). RR managed a well below par 130 in their 20 overs and needed an exceptional showing with the ball if they had any hopes of winning this one.

In the run chase the Royals got the start they wanted and had the Titans in trouble at 23 for 2. But as he has done all season Hardik Pandya walked in, soaked up all the pressure and in the company of Shubhman Gill put on a valuable partnership of 63 runs which set up the foundation for the win. David Miller then came in and put the icing on the cake for GT by finishing the innings in typical fashion. It was only fitting that a team that finished on top of the league table comprehensively won the final as well. A remarkable achievement for a brand new franchise competing against eight experienced franchises’ and another new franchise. For his all-round performance Pandya won the Man of the finals award and Jos Buttler with a whopping 863 runs in the season won the player of the tournament award.

True to its motto “where talent meets opportunity” IPL 2022 provided a platform to talented cricketers to display their skills. A number of these individuals have impressed one and all. Indian and world cricket is richer due to the IPL. Richer in monetary terms and richer in talent too. The faster the critics of the IPL accept the fact that all forms of cricket need to co-exist for the future of this beautiful game the better it will be. On a personal note I have enjoyed bringing you all the action for the last two months and look forward to the next opportunity.