Chennai Super Kings 171 for 5 in 15 overs (Conway 47, Dube 32*, Mohit 3-36) beat Gujarat Titans 214 for 4 (Sudharsan 96, Saha 54) by five wickets via DLS method
At 1:35am on the third day of a T20 match, Chennai Super Kings emerged as the new IPL champions, winning their fifth title to draw level with Mumbai Indians.
Ravindra Jadeja pierced the silence built by tens of thousands of people when he hit the final two balls of an incredible, chaotic, unbelievable chase for boundaries. One straight in front of him. The other behind.
An equation of 171 off 15 overs reduced to 13 off one. Mohit Sharma made it even tougher - 10 off two balls. CSK hadn't hit a boundary in 13 balls. They had, however, lost two wickets. One of them was MS Dhoni, for a duck.
That was looking like it might be his last act on a cricket field. He will be 42 soon. He said preparing for the IPL at his age was taking a "heavy toll". When he came in, Ahmedabad broke the sound barrier. When he left, the crowd was bereft.
But, an hour and a half later, they looked on, having suffered through the rain, braving difficult journeys to and from the ground, as their hero walked up onto the podium and picked up his fifth IPL trophy. In a rare show of emotion, once the winning runs were hit, Dhoni wrapped his arms around Jadeja and lifted him clean off the ground. That's how much it meant to him. It even convinced him to keep playing for another year.
None of this would have been possible though without the impact of Ambati Rayudu. He tweeted that this would be his final IPL match. When he walked out, ESPNcricinfo's forecaster suggested CSK only had a 35% chance of victory. He lashed Mohit for 6, 4 and 6 and with those three hits, his team became overwhelming favourites - 93%.
The IPL final began on May 28. Not a ball was bowled because of rain. Then it shifted to May 29. Two-hundred and ten balls took six hours to be bowled because of another weather intervention.
B Sai Sudharsan made the final the spectacle it was. The 21-year old Chennai boy took it to his hometown franchise, scoring 96 runs off 47 balls. Mohit made it last the distance. He came back from the Rayudu assault to pick up two wickets in two balls.
Later, facing some of the greatest pressure a player can be under - bowling the last over with an IPL final on his shoulders - he nailed three perfect off-stump yorkers that were simply unhittable.
Super Kings had been propped up by yet another strong opening partnership from Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway. But once the field spread - after four overs - they found the going tougher. Especially against Noor Ahmad. The 18-year old left arm wristspinner did not concede a single boundary in a spell of 3-0-17-2. His Afghanistan team-mate though was battered around.
Rashid Khan was about to finish his spell well. The first four balls of his last over went for just three runs. The rest went for 12. Shivam Dube got the tossed up balls he wanted and he smashed them both for sixes.
CSK needed to go 6, 6, 6, 4, 6 between the 12th and the 13th overs just to get ahead in this game. They were trailing until that five-ball sequence. Imagine being the Titans right now. Those five balls - and then the last two - ended up deciding their fate.
They finally roar for Jadeja
At the end of the league stage, Jadeja had a strike rate of 149.47 between overs 15 and 20. That is the lowest of the 14 finishers who have faced at least 75 balls in this phase. His closest competitor for a place in the Indian team in T20 cricket - Axar Patel - was up at 175.55.
To make matters worse, every time he fell, he was greeted to the sound of the crowd roaring as one for the incoming batter. Dhoni. It got to the point where he rounded on the fans, in jest of course, and, in response, the next time he walked out to the middle, the Chepauk DJ played a song called Mannippaya, which in Tamil translates to 'will you forgive me?'
Jadeja faced only six balls in the final. He was at the crease for only 13. There were no boundaries hit for the duration of his stay … until the penultimate ball. A yorker that fell only inches short from Mohit was launched down the ground, and then the last ball, another attempted yorker that became a low full toss, was flicked to the left of short fine.
Chennai would have roared as one. This time for Jadeja.
The blinder from Rayudu
CSK needed 72 from 36. Eleven balls, two fours and a wicket later, they needed 54 from 25 and that's what Rayudu walked into. He has played 204 matches in his IPL career, which began in 2010. This season he's had to play a reduced role. He was CSK's Impact Player at the start. None of his innings lasted more than 17 balls. Yet he kept telling his team-mates in the dressing room that he would win the final for them. Deepak Chahar made a point of saying that by cutting across Rayudu himself when he was doing an interview with the host broadcaster.
The second six he hit was especially stunning. Off an into-the-wicket slower ball that was designed to rob the batter of his balance, Rayudu kept his, and smashed it over extra cover. As far as cameos go, this 19 off 8 will remain long in memory.
The forgotten hero
Sudharsan arrived on the back of a stumping that Dhoni pulled off in 0.1 seconds to get rid of Shubman Gill. He was 10 off 12 with no boundaries after 11 overs. He was the man that had to retire out in Qualifier 2 so Titans could get a better ball-striker in. But even that night, they let Sudharsan bat till the start of the 20th over and only then pulled him out. They trust this guy. They trust all their guys. That's their whole thing.
Sudharsan seems to understand his limitations. And that gives him his power. He can't hit sixes like Tim David or Suryakumar Yadav. Even the ones he manages to hit look like they take a lot out of him. That bat goes as high as it can in the back-lift and comes thundering down. He holds nothing back because he knows he can't afford to.
Defensive bowling is all about protecting one side of the pitch. Usually, the leg side. That's why most teams station more men in the deep there. It's instinct to slog the ball in T20s.
But Sudharsan is different. He is a really good off-side player. On Monday, he found six of his eight fours there. Two of them were slaps in the face of CSK's plans. In the 17th over, with mid-off and cover up and Tushar Deshpande trying to tuck him up on middle and leg, Sudharsan made room and flat-batted two beautiful boundaries where he knew he didn't need power. Just placement.
This was part of a three-over period in which he scored all of the Titans' boundaries - three sixes and five fours. When a batter pillages runs both sides of the wicket, the opposition unravels.
No CSK bowler was spared. Not even Matheesha Pathirana. He had gone entire games - 9 of 14 - without giving away as many runs as he did on Monday to just one player. Sudharsan whacked the Sri Lankan sensation for 34 in 14 balls.