Ten Franchises, Sixty-Four days, Seventy-Three matches and we are down to two teams – Gujarat Titans and Rajasthan Royals holding out the edges of the IPL trophy with everything at stake.
With the addition of 2 new franchises this season, the IPL this year was more competitive than ever before. Likewise, the crusade for the berth in the final was pretty eccentric.
Finishing in the top-two, reaching the playoffs, playing Qualifiers, Eliminator and then finally the final, the journey of both the Royals and the Titans has not been anything less than an inspiring tale.
On that note let us take you down the memory lane and look at the road IPL debutants and Rajasthan Royals took to cover miles before making it to the finals of the IPL 2022.
Gujarat Titans: A Journey To Remember
“Our team is not reliant on individuals and that’s what sets us apart," Rahul Tewatia said after making it to the finals, beating Rajasthan Royals in the Qualifier 1.
And that has been the story for the IPL debutants, Gujarat Titans this season. They have found different match-winners on every occasion.
If Shubman Gill didn't click, Wriddhiman Saha worked it out, if Saha couldn't, Hardik did, if the top order collapsed, David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan stepped out and not to mention the lethal bowling trio of Mohammed Shami, Rashid Khan and Lockie Ferguson, which wreaked havoc and dismantled several batting lineups in the tournament thus far.
The success of the Titans under skipper Hardik Pandya in the maiden season has unarguably been a revelation to many, especially after the kind of IPL 2022 mega auction they have had.
With an arid batting lineup, not many experienced players and injury-prone Hardik Pandya as a captain, the Titans looked comparatively weaker on paper than the other franchises.
Questions were shot when he was appointed as the skipper of the newly added Gujarat franchise but the India all-rounder has proved the sceptics wrong with his elegant show with the bat and with the way he led his team.
Gujarat Titans kickstarted their IPL campaign with a thumping 5 wickets victory over the other new-entrant Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) on 28 March 2022, and after that, they never looked back.
Hardik Pandya & Co continued their winning streak for the first three matches and were punched to the back foot for the first time by Sunrisers Hyderabad as they tasted their first defeat of the season.
However, Gujarat Titans were quick to make a comeback as they went on to register five consecutive victories before being beaten by Punjab Kings and Faf-du Plessis-led RCB in their next two league stage matches.
Till then, Gujarat Titans had become hot contenders for the top-four spot with eight wins from 11 matches and now they had three matches left to play with just one match needed to win to qualify for the playoffs. And it was a cakewalk for them as GT became the first team to get the tickets for the playoffs by beating the Lucknow Super Giants by a huge margin of 62 runs.
Later in the playoff, Gujarat Titans defeated Rajasthan Royals in the Qualifier 1 by 7 wickets to book a berth in the finals. And one can't argue that Hardik Pandya, the leader, has repaid the faith shown in him by the Gujarat-based franchise.
Here's a look at Gujarat Titans' IPL 2022 journey:
- March 28: Vs Lucknow Super Giants - Gujarat Titans won by 5 wickets
- April 2: Vs Delhi Capitals - Gujarat Titans won by 14 runs
- April 8: Vs Punjab Kings - Gujarat Titans won by 6 wickets
- April 11: Vs Sunrisers Hyderabad - SRH won by 8 wickets
- April 14: Vs Rajasthan - Gujarat Titans won by 37 runs
- April 17: Vs Chennai Super Kings - Gujarat Titans won by 3 wickets
- April 23: Vs Kolkata Knight Riders - Gujarat Titans won by 8 runs
- April 27: Vs Sunrisers Hyderabad - Gujarat Titans won by 5 wickets
- April 30: Vs Bangalore - Gujarat Titans won by 6 wickets
- May 3: Vs Punjab Kings - Punjab Kings won by 8 wickets
- May 6: Vs Mumbai Indians - Mumbai Indians won by 5 runs
- May 10: Vs Lucknow Super Giants - Gujarat Titans won by 62 runs
- May 15: Vs Chennai Super Kings - Gujarat Titans won by 7 wickets
- May 19: Vs Royal Challengers Bangalore - RCB won by 8 wickets
Top Performers of GT
Top 3 Run-Scorers
- Hardik Pandya - 453 runs at 132.84 SR
- David Miller - 449 runs at 141.19 SR
- Shubman Gill - 438 runs at 136.02 SR
Top 3 Wicket-Takers
- Mohammed Shami - 19 wickets in 15 matches
- Rashid Khan - 18 wickets in 15 matches
- Lockie Ferguson - 12 wickets in 12 matches
Rajasthan Royals Ended 14 Years Of Drought
The inaugural champions paid the absolute tribute to the legend of the game and their mentor Shane Warne by making it to the finals for the first time since 2008 by knocking out Royal Challengers Bangalore by 7 wickets in the 2nd Qualifier at the Narendra Modi International Stadium in Ahmedabad on Friday.
It would not be wrong to say that Rajasthan Royals got half the job done at the IPL auction table with their brilliant signings. They were one of the few teams who got all the bases covered in the auction but it was only half the job done as players were yet to restore the faith the franchise had shown in them. And all of them lived up to the expectations, amping up when the team needed them the most.
Roping in the attacking leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was one of their stand out decisions as the 31-year old went on to become the joint leading wicket-taker in the tournament with 26 wickets in 16 matches which also includes a hattrick and a fifer.
While Chahal has been the backbone of Rajasthan's bowling unit, Jos Buttler has led the batting charge from the front, having smashed 4 centuries in the season. The Englishman's form dipped in the second half of the tournament but he bounced back stronger with the bat against the Royal Challengers Bangalore to take his side past the finish line when it mattered the most.
The Royals, overall had a decent run in the IPL 2022 season as they won 9 matches out of the 14 that they played and finished second in the points table, given their better net run rate than Lucknow Super Giants.
After starting their IPL 2022 campaign in a fashion, Rajasthan Royals (RR) lost momentum in the middle stage after they suffered three defeats against Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Capitals but they made a solid comeback against Lucknow Super Giants and Chennai Super Kings to claim the second position in the IPL 2022 standings.
Here's a look at their road to IPL playoffs:
- March 29: Vs Sunrisers Hyderabad – Rajasthan Royals won by 61 runs
- April 2: Vs Mumbai Indians, – Rajasthan Royals won by 23 runs
- April 5: Vs Royal Challengers Bangalore – Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 4 wickets
- April 10: Vs Lucknow Super Giants – Rajasthan Royals won by 3 runs
- April 14: Vs Gujarat Titans – Gujarat Titans won by 37 runs
- April 18: Vs Kolkata Knight Riders – Rajasthan Royals won by 7 runs
- April 22: Vs Delhi Capitals – Rajasthan Royals won by 15 runs
- April 26: Vs Royal Challengers Bangalore – Rajasthan Royals won by 29 runs
- April 30: Vs Mumbai Indians – Mumbai Indians won by 5 wickets
- May 2: Vs Kolkata Knight Riders – Kolkata Knight Riders won by 7 wickets
- May 7: Vs Rajasthan Royals – Rajasthan Royals won by 6 wickets
- May 11: Vs Delhi Capitals – Delhi Capitals won by 8 wickets
- May 15: Vs Lucknow Super Giants – Rajasthan Royals won by 24 runs
- May 20: Vs Chennai Super Kings – Rajasthan Royals won by 5 wickets
Top 3 Run-Scorers
- Jos Buttler - 824 runs at 151.47 SR
- Sanju Samson - 444 runs at 147.50 SR
- Devdutt Padikkal - 374 runs at 126.35 SR
Top 3 Wicket-Takers
- Yuzvendra Chahal - 26 wickets in 16 matches
- Prasidh Krishna - 18 wickets in 16 matches
- Trent Boult - 15 wickets in 15 matches