Record crowd of 104,000 watches Hardik Pandya's Gujarat Titans lift IPL 2022 title

All-rounder picks up three wickets and scores 34 to seal seven-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in final

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The IPL 2022 final between Gujarat Titans and Rajasthan Royals was special in more ways than one.

Not only did the Titans lift the title in their debut season, the match was witnessed by a record crowd of 104,000 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

The world's biggest cricket stadium has a total capacity of 132,000 and organisers said that 104,859 supporters turned up for the title match.

The highest recorded attendance for a white-ball match was the 2015 World Cup final between Australia and New Zealand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which was watched by a crowd of 93,000.

Previously, Eden Gardens in Kolkata used to have more than 100,000 spectators in the stands regularly before fixed seats were introduced, reducing the capacity to around 68,000.

Gujarat dominated the final from the start, with captain Pandya leading the way with the ball. Putting in the best performance of the tournament when it mattered most, the star all-rounder picked up 3-17 to restrict Rajasthan to 130-9.

He got the prized scalp of tournament's top-scorer Jos Buttler, getting the Englishman caught behind for 39, to send the Titans on their way to victory.

In the chase, opening batsman Shubman Gill lived a charmed life but remained unbeaten on 45, finishing the match with a six over fine leg off Obed McCoy.

Pandya played his part with the bat as well, scoring a sensible 34 off 30 balls to also clinch the player of the match award. Gujarat reached the target with seven wickets and 11 deliveries in hand.

After guiding his team to the IPL title in his first assignment as captain of any major team, Pandya said he wants to replicate his performance at the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.

His performance was followed closely by Indian team management as there were questions about his workload and ability to bowl four overs regularly, having struggled with back issues previously.

Asked about his next goal, the 28-year-old said: "Absolutely to win the World Cup for India no matter what happens.

"I am going to give it everything I have. Always been that kind of guy to put the team first. For me the goal will be simple: to make sure my team gets it the most.

"It has always been a pleasure for me to represent the country ... Long term, short term, I want to win the World Cup no matter what happens."

Former players including Sunil Gavaskar and Sanjay Manjrekar praised Pandya's calm leadership, and he is now certain to walk into the Indian playing XI if he remains fit.

"Obviously this will be a little special because I have won it as a captain," said Pandya, who had won four IPL titles with Mumbai Indians before taking up the leadership role at Gujarat.

"I consider myself very lucky that I have played five finals, and have lifted the trophy five times.

"Obviously this will leave a legacy because we are a new franchise, playing for the first time, and we are champions in the first season."

Despite the defeat, Rajasthan captain Samson said the tournament was an overall success for the team.

“This season is really special for us, we have been able to play good cricket and gave fans some happy moments,” Samson said.

“All the youngsters and seniors played well as a team, I am proud of my team. We believe quality bowlers win you the tournament, so we invested in them … but there is a lot to learn.”

Updated: March 30, 2023, 2:26 PM