Sent into bat after losing the toss, Chennai put up 172/7 on the board as opener Ruturaj Gaikwad top-scored with 60 off 44 balls. Mohammed Shami (2/28) and Mohit Sharma (2/31), however, ensured GT were in with a chance in the chase. However, Deepak Chahar (2/29), Maheesh Theekshana (2/28) and Ravindra Jadeja (2/18) stifled Gujarat as the chasing side were cleaned up for 157.
Gaikwad, who struck seven fours and a six, dominated an opening stand of 87 with Devon Conway (40 off 34), who contributed a subdued 40 off 34. Gaikwad’s fine knock ended when he top-edged a pull off Mohit. GT then hit back as Noor Ahmad cleaned up Shivam Dube for 1, while Ajinkya Rahane (17) fell to Darshan Nalkande.
Conway’s slow innings also ended when he mistimed Shami to a fielder in the deep. Ambati Rayudu struck 17 off 9, but was dismissed by Rashid Khan, top-edging a slog sweep. There were no big hits from MS Dhoni who chipped a catch off Mohit’s bowling, but Jadeja’s 22 off 16 provided the innings some much-needed momentum.
Gujarat struggled in a chase for a change. Wriddhiman Saha (12) mistimed a pull off Chahar, while Hardik Pandya (8) was caught off Theekshana’s bowling. Dasun Shanaka (17) mistimed a reverse sweep off Jadeja, who also knocked over David Miller (4). GT’s big hope went when Shubman Gill (42 off 38) pulled Chahar to fine leg.
Rahul Tewatia (3) and Vijay Shankar (14) were sent back by Theekshana and Matheesha Pathirana respectively, leaving GT in all sorts of strife at 136/7. An impressive cameo from Rashid (30 off 16) saw Gujarat cross the 150 mark.
Speaking after the memorable win, CSK skipper Dhoni said, “IPL is too big to say it's just another final. Used to be 8 top teams, now it's 10. I won't say it's just another final. It's hard work of 2 months. Everybody has contributed. Yes, middle-order has not got ample opportunity. GT are a fantastic team and they've chased very well, so the thought was to get them in. But it was a good toss to lose.”
Praising Jadeja, Dhoni added, “If Jaddu gets conditions that help him, he's very difficult to hit. His bowling changed the game. Not to forget his partnership with Moeen [Ali].”
--By A Cricket Correspondent