All-round performance by Ravindra Jadeja leads Chennai into IPL 2023 final

Chennai Super Kings to face Gujarat Titans in IPL 2023 Final

Barring a surprise, Chennai Super Kings skipper M.S. Dhoni will step out as a player for the last time when his side takes on holders Gujarat Titans in the IPL final on Sunday.

The cricketing great is widely expected to retire — he has only said he will decide on his future later this year — and the spotlight will be on him with Chennai eyeing a record-equalling fifth title at the world’s biggest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad.

Standing in Chennai’s way will be Gujarat opener Shubman Gill, fresh from smashing a century — his third in the IPL — in the final playoff on Friday at the same venue.

Gill’s three IPL tons have all come in his last four innings, his latest a brutal 129 off 60 balls to demolish five-time winners Mumbai Indians.

Gujarat Skipper Hardik Pandya said the 23-year-old “will be a superstar in international and franchise cricket”.

And former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar, on the ESPNcricinfo website, called Gill a “once-in-a-generation player”.

Gill leads this season’s batting chart with 851 runs after surpassing Bangalore skipper Faf du Plessis (730) in the final playoff and Gujarat will look to him for a starting flourish.

Gujarat has extended a fairytale journey which began with a title in their debut season last year when Pandya raised the Cup in Ahmedabad in front of a record 101,566 fans at the 132,000-capacity stadium.

With home advantage, betting odds make the team the slightest of favourites to repeat the feat on Sunday, but Pandya remained cautious about their chances.

“We have to play good cricket, put in our 100 percent,” he said. “Knockouts could go either way.”

Afghanistan spin ace Rashid Khan and pace spearhead Mohammed Shami have been key to the team’s success with 55 wickets between them in 16 matches.

Shami has bagged 28 — one more than Rashid — and the fight for the purple cap for the highest wicket-taker in the tournament goes down to the wire.

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