In the highly anticipated IPL 2023 Finals, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) got off to a sensational start in their chase against Gujarat Titans (GT) after the game resumed at 12:10 am with a revised target of 171 runs in 15 overs. With the power-play reduced to four overs due to the revised rules, CSK openers showed their intent right from the beginning.
Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad were tasked with providing a solid foundation for CSK, and they did not disappoint. In the first four overs, they smashed a remarkable 52 runs, setting the stage for a thrilling chase. Gaikwad, in particular, continued his impressive form from the earlier overs and added more boundaries to his name.
In the fourth over bowled by Rashid Khan, Gaikwad displayed his attacking prowess. Despite facing a well-flighted googly just outside off, Gaikwad confidently gave himself room and elegantly lifted the ball inside-out over mid-off for a massive six. The shot showcased Gaikwad’s timing and flair, leaving the GT fielders in awe.
Not content with just a six, Gaikwad followed it up with a boundary in the same over. Rashid Khan’s short delivery presented an opportunity that Gaikwad didn’t miss. He quickly reacted and slapped the ball off the back foot, beating the diving effort of the fielder at backward point. CSK crossed the 50-run mark and continued to dominate the GT bowlers.
However, the game took a dramatic turn as Noor Ahmad, the talented Afghan spinner, had an impact. In a remarkable display of skill, Noor Ahmad bagged both the openers’ wickets in a single over. First, he deceived Gaikwad with a quicker and fuller delivery on off stump, tempting him into a big heave. Gaikwad could only manage a flying edge that went high in the air, and Rashid Khan at backward point took a comfortable catch. Gaikwad departed after scoring a valuable 26 runs off 16 deliveries.
To compound CSK’s woes, Noor Ahmad struck again on the last ball of the over. He delivered a shorter ball that got some extra bounce and held on the surface. Conway, who was in scintillating form, couldn’t adjust to the bounce and ended up getting a top-edge. Mohit Sharma took a simple catch, sending Conway back to the pavilion after a fantastic knock of 47 runs off 25 balls.