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IPL-2023: Chennai Super Kings reach 10th IPL final with 15-run win over Gujarat Titans in Qualifier 1

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Chennai Super Kings made it to their 10th IPL final with a 15-run win over Gujarat Titans in Qualifier 1. Chasing 173, Gujarat folded for 157, the first time they were bowled out in the IPL. This was also CSK’s first win in four attempts against Hardik Pandya’s team, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

With the joint-highest wicket-takers of the tournament (Mohammed Shami and Rashid Khan) bowling half the overs in this phase, it made sense the CSK got off to a quiet start. However, the show-stealing moment of this phase was the wicket of Ruturaj Gaikward taken by Nalkande off a no-ball, after which Gaikwad dispatched a six off the free-hit and creamed a boundary to give CSK’s innings some much-needed momentum.

The openers were sedate against Shami, Rashid and Noor Ahmad, but maintained a run-rate of over 8 at the end of the powerplay. This had built the platform. However, they needed to accelerate against the master-chasers of the IPL.

When the start is steady, the expectation is that the batsmen will “get in” and turn up the heat. Except Gujarat Titans, a franchise that essentially houses two Purple Cap holders, in addition to a Rashid Khan apprentice. That’s twelve overs gone, and the pressure can build, even on CSK. And when the “targetable” bowlers start keeping things tight as well, things got tough.

Gaikwad was the first to go, against the run of play, to Mohit Sharma. Dube, attempting an ugly slog, was knocked over by Noor, and then Rahane departed, after his cameo was cut short. It had to be Conway who finally got going, but he too succumbed to the pressure for a 33-ball 40. It looked like CSK’s steady start was futile, and it was falling apart. And when you’re staring at a total of about 170 against the chase masters of the IPL, it could spell doom.

Scores: Chennai Super Kings 172-7 in 20 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 60, Devon Conway 40, Mohammed Shami 2-28, Mohit Sharma 2-31) beat Gujarat Titans 157 all-out in 20 overs (Shubman Gill 42, Rashid Khan 30, Ravindra Jadeja 2-18, Maheesh Theekshana 2-28) by 15 runs.

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