Gujarat created history by winning the final of the Indian T20 League 2022. They became only the second team to win the coveted trophy in their debut season. The only other team to achieve the feat is Rajasthan, who was the champions of the inaugural season of the Indian T20 League in 2008. Notably, it was Rajasthan who were the opposition of Gujarat in the finals of the 15th edition of the tournament.
After the mega auction ahead of the Indian T20 League 2022, Gujarat was written off by many cricket pundits and experts as they believed that the team failed to strike a good team combination. Coincidentally Rajasthan were also considered as the underdogs in the inaugural season of the cash-rich league. Rajasthan had no big names in their squad back then and the skipper of the team was also out of action before coming into the tournament.
Rajasthan in that season made a squad full of youngsters and was led by the experience of Warne. Gujarat however took a reverse policy this year. They had a young and relatively inexperienced captain while they relied on experience to build the rest of the squad.
Gujarat roped in Hardik Pandya, Shubman Gill, and Rashid Khan as their draft players. Later in the mega auction, they bought players like David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, and Wriddhiman Saha. These players might not be young but they have a vast experience under their belt. And their faith was repaid as these players put their hands up at different phases of the tournament and took their team over the line.
Gujarat also boasted of a strong bowling line up having Mohammad Shami as the leader of the pack. Hardik Pandya after winning the match spoke about the bowling strength of the team and said – “People say T20 is a batter’s game, but it’s the bowlers who win you games. You need a gun bowling lineup to restrict teams, where other teams went for 190 runs, we gave just 180 runs, that proved to be the difference.”
This was Pandya’s fifth ITL title as a player, however, it was his first as captain. Leading the team and that a team that is playing their first season and then going on to win the title was special for the man. Speaking on the achievement he said- “This is a bit more special, as I got it as a captain, but the other 4 are special too. I’m immensely lucky to win 5 titles but this one will create a legacy.”