Opener Gaikwad blasts Chennai past Gujarat into Indian Premier League final

Super Kings beat defending champions by 15 runs in first qualifier to reach 10th showpiece

Ruturaj Gaikwad, right, salutes his fifty in Chennai Super Kings' Indian Premier League qualifier victory over Gujarat Titans on May 23, 2023. AP
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Opener Ruturaj Gwaikad smashed 60 off 44 balls to send Chennai Super Kings into their 10th Indian Premier League final with a 15-run victory over Gujarat Titans on Tuesday.

After Chennai were put into bat, Gwaikad put on 87 for the first wicket with fellow opener Devon Conway (40 off 34) to set the home side on their way to a total of 172-7 off 20 overs at MA Chidambaram Stadium.

Gwaikad was given a reprieve in the second over when he chipped the ball to midwicket off the bowling of Darshan Nalkande before the delivery was ruled a no-ball as the pacer had overstepped his mark.

Gwaikad smashed the next ball for six before reaching his 50 off 36 balls.

Ravindra Jadeja made 22 off 16 balls to help Chennai build a competitive total, while Ajinkya Rahane (17 off 10) and Ambati Rayudu (17 off 9) also chipped in and England all-rounder Moeen Ali made an unbeaten nine off four balls.

Mohammed Shammi was the pick of the bowlers for defending champions Gujarat with two wickets for 28 off his four overs, including the scalps of Conway and Jadeja. Mohit Sharma finished with two for 31.

In reply, Gujarat failed to build any momentum of a pitch that became increasingly difficult to score freely on.

Jadeja (2-18) and Mahesh Theekshana (2-28) extracted plenty of turn and bounce off the surface and Jadeja claimed his 150th IPL wicket when he had Dasun Shanaka (17 off 16) caught in the deep by Theekshana.

Shubman Gill, who went past 700 runs in the IPL this season, made 42 from 38 balls before falling to Deepak Chahar (2-29) two balls after Jadeja had bowled David Miller for four.

The only other Gujarat batsman to make a score of note was Rashid Khan, who smashed three fours and two sixes on his way to making 30 off 16 before he was bowled by Tushar Deshpande.

Chennai are now safely through to their 10th IPL final in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

Their skipper MS Dhoni said: "I think IPL is too big to say it is just another final. Everyone has contributed. Yes, middle order hasn't got ample opportunity but they have chipped in."

Gujarat now go into the second qualifier, where they will meet either third-placed Lucknow Super Giants or Mumbai Indians, who meet in the eliminator on Wednesday.

Whoever wins that game will face Gujarat on Friday for the chance to take on Chennai in the final.

Gujarat captain Hardik Pandya said: "We made some basic errors. We must have conceded 16 runs or so due to our soft balls but we have one more chance of going to the finals. We will give it a crack again."

Updated: May 23, 2023, 7:24 PM