This season’s Indian Premier League came to a dramatic conclusion, with a rain delayed final lasting all the way until past midnight local time as Chennai Super Kings pulled off an unlikely victory over defending champions Gujarat Titans.
Gujarat were put in to bat and set a strong target of 215 from their 20 overs thanks to an innings of 96 from 47 balls by Sai Sudharsan.
The rain, which saw the game delayed 24 hours returned and forced the players off the field, reducing the second innings to 15 overs in the process.
A Chennai victory looked extremely unlikely with two balls to go with them requiring 10 runs to be victorious via the Duckworth-Lewis Method.
Ravindra Jadeja hit a six and a four from the last two balls to guide Chennai to a record-equalling fifth IPL victory, joining Mumbai Indians on that tally.
The Chennai Super Kings finished ninth in the 2022 Indian Premier League, winning just four of their 14 games, but bounced back in spectacular style this time around.
Led by captain MS Dhoni, Chennai won eight and lost five of their 14 regular season matches, with one a no contest, to finish third in the table and progress to the play-offs.
There they completed the double over the Gujarat Titans, first bowling them out for 157 in their first play-off game after they had set them 173 to win.
A dramatic, delayed final saw the Super Kings chase down an impressive total and secure their fifth title.
Captain Dhoni was expected to retire after the match but announced that he will be returning for at least one more season as "a gift" to the fans after his side produced the unlikely victory.
The Gujarat Titans came within touching distance of securing back-to-back IPL trophies, going down in dramatic fashion to the Chennai Super Kings at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
The Titans have now topped the regular season IPL table in both of their campaigns since they were founded for the 2022 season.
Shubman Gill of the Titans picked up the Orange Cap for most runs with 890 across 17 innings, also taking home the Player of the Tournament award, while the teams’ Mohammed Shami took the Purple Cap for most wickets with 28 from 17 games.
Teammate Mohit Sharma and Rashid Khan followed closely with 27 wickets each in a year in which Gujarat dominated most statistics.
Along with the Titans’ success, fellow new team Lucknow Super Giants also performed strongly again this season.
Lucknow have now finished third in both of their IPL campaigns, losing just ten of their 28 regular season games across that period.
However, just as in their first season in the competition, the Super Giants lost in the eliminator, to Mumbai Indians this time around.
The success of the newer teams may be something of a wake-up call to the old guard, especially the likes of Virat Kohli and Royal Challengers Bangalore, who are still chasing their first IPL title.
The 50-over World Cup is set to take place in India this year and this year’s Indian Premier League has not just served as a dry run for many of the stadiums but also shown some of the players who will be strutting their stuff come October.
England are the defending champions and 3/1 to repeat the trick but they will be hoping their stars can perform better than they did in this year’s IPL with Ben Stokes, Joe Root and Sam Curran all failing to make a big mark.
That is perhaps understandable with a home Ashes series looming but they will be concerned by the form of some of the hosts’ stars.
India are 11/5 to win their first title since 2011 and the performances of Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami indicate that they could be big dangers to all comers in this year’s World Cup.
India are also joint-favourites with England for next year’s T20 World Cup, showing the domination that those teams are expected to have over the white ball game in the next few years.