The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 season witnessed a thrilling contest between two of the most consistent and successful teams in the tournament: Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Gujarat Titans (GT). The two teams faced each other three times in the season, twice in the playoffs and once in the league stage. Each match had its own drama, excitement and twists, as CSK and GT battled for the coveted trophy.
CSK vs GT, 1st Match, March 31, 2023
The first encounter between CSK and GT was the inaugural match of the IPL 2023 season, played at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. GT, led by Hardik Pandya, won the toss and opted to field first. CSK, captained by MS Dhoni, had a shaky start as they lost Devon Conway in the third over to Mohammed Shami. However, Ruturaj Gaikwad played a sensational knock of 92 off 50 balls, hitting four fours and nine sixes, to anchor the innings. He was well supported by Moeen Ali (23), Ben Stokes (7), Ambati Rayudu (12), Shivam Dube (19) and Dhoni (14*), as CSK posted a competitive total of 178/7 in 20 overs.
GT had a daunting task ahead of them, as they needed to chase down 179 runs at an average of 8.95 runs per over. They had a solid opening partnership of 67 runs between Wriddhiman Saha and Shubman Gill, who scored 54 and 39 respectively. However, CSK’s spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Maheesh Theekshana turned the tide in their favour, as they picked up four wickets in quick succession. GT’s middle order collapsed, as they lost Sai Sudharsan (9), Hardik Pandya (4), Vijay Shankar (6) and David Miller (5) cheaply. Rashid Khan tried to revive the chase with a cameo of 21 off 10 balls, but it was too late. GT were bowled out for 157 in 19.2 overs, falling short by 21 runs. Gaikwad was adjudged the player of the match for his brilliant batting performance.
CSK vs GT, Qualifier 1, May 23, 2023
The second clash between CSK and GT was the Qualifier 1 of the IPL 2023 playoffs, played at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. GT once again won the toss and decided to field first. CSK had a similar start as the previous match, as they lost Conway early to Noor Ahmad. However, this time Gaikwad was joined by Ajinkya Rahane, who scored a fluent 27 off 13 balls. The duo added 74 runs for the second wicket, before Rahane fell to Mohit Sharma. Gaikwad continued his good form and scored his second consecutive half-century, making 60 off 44 balls. He was well assisted by Rayudu (19), Dube (32*) and Jadeja (15*), as CSK reached a respectable total of 172/7 in 20 overs.
GT had a slightly better start than the previous match, as they scored 50 runs in the powerplay without losing any wicket. Saha and Gill looked comfortable against CSK’s pace attack, but struggled against their spinners. Jadeja broke the opening stand by dismissing Saha for 28 off 24 balls. Gill followed soon after, falling to Theekshana for 35 off 28 balls. GT’s middle order failed to capitalize on the good start, as they lost Sudharsan (16), Pandya (12) and Shankar (8) in quick succession. Miller and Rashid Khan tried to keep GT in the hunt with some big hits, but they could not overcome the mounting pressure. GT ended up scoring 157/10 in 20 overs, losing by 15 runs.Gaikwad was named the player of the match again for his consistent batting display.
CSK vs GT, Final, May 29, 2023
The third and final showdown between CSK and GT was the grand finale of the IPL 2023 season, played at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. CSK won the toss and chose to field first, hoping to repeat their success from the previous matches. However, GT had other plans, as they came out all guns blazing. Saha and Gill gave them a flying start, adding 67 runs in the powerplay. Saha went on to score his maiden IPL fifty, making 54 off 39 balls. Gill was dismissed for 39 off 20 balls by Jadeja, but Sudharsan took over the mantle and played a scintillating innings of 96 off 47 balls, smashing eight fours and six sixes. He was well supported by Pandya (21*) and Rashid Khan (0), as GT amassed a mammoth total of 214/4 in 20 overs. CSK’s bowlers had a forgettable day, as they conceded the highest total of the season.
CSK had a monumental task ahead of them, as they needed to chase down 215 runs at an average of 10.75 runs per over. They had a decent start, as Gaikwad and Conway added 74 runs for the first wicket in 6.3 overs. However, Noor Ahmad struck twice in the same over, removing both the openers. Gaikwad scored 26 off 16 balls, while Conway scored 47 off 25 balls. CSK’s middle order tried to keep up with the required run rate, as Rahane (27), Rayudu (19), Dube (32*) and Jadeja (15*) played some quick-fire knocks. However, GT’s bowlers kept their nerves and did not allow any big partnerships to flourish. Sharma was the pick of the bowlers, taking three wickets for 44 runs in four overs. The match was interrupted by rain in the 15th over, when CSK were 171/5. The Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method came into play, and CSK were declared the winners by five wickets, as they were ahead of the par score of 166. Conway was awarded the player of the match for his explosive batting performance.
CSK and GT gave the fans a memorable IPL season, as they displayed some high-quality cricket throughout the tournament. CSK emerged as the champions for the fifth time in their history, while GT finished as the runners-up for the second time. Both teams had some outstanding individual performers, such as Gaikwad, Conway, Sudharsan, Rashid Khan and Sharma. The IPL 2023 season will go down as one of the most exciting and competitive seasons in the history of the league.