Rain halts Chennai’s chase against Gujarat in IPL final

Ground staff cover the field as it rains during the Indian Premier League match between Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on 29 May 2023AFP

Rain halted play in the Indian Premier League final in Ahmedabad for the second day running on Monday with Chennai Super Kings chasing 215 for victory against defending champions Gujarat Titans.

Chennai reached four no loss after three balls by Gujarat pace spearhead Mohammed Shami when rain forced the players off the ground on a reserve day after a heavy downpour washed out play on Sunday.

Earlier, Indian batsman Sai Sudharsan smashed 96 as defending champions Gujarat Titans reached 214-4, the highest ever total in an IPL final.

Gujarat Titans' Sai Sudharsan plays a shot

The left-handed Sudharsan, an uncapped Indian batsman, took apart the bowling in his 47-ball knock that included an attacking stand of 81 with skipper Hardik Pandya in Ahmedabad.

The final, which was pushed back to a reserve day after rain washed out play on Sunday, is believed to be Chennai skipper MS Dhoni’s last match as a player.

Thousands of fans, who left the 132,000-capacity stadium disappointed after a washout, returned to the world’s biggest cricket stadium wearing Dhoni’s yellow jersey.

Fans of Chennai Super Kings' captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, cheer before the start of the final

The 41-year-old Dhoni, playing his 250th IPL match, won the toss to a loud roar from the crowd but it was the in-form Shubman Gill who raised the noise with his 20-ball 39.

Gill, fresh from his third century this season in the last playoff and who leads the batting chart with 890 runs, was dropped on three when Deepak Chahar spilled an easy catch off fast bowler Tushar Deshpande.

The opener smashed Deshpande for three straight boundaries in the next over and kept up the attack with regular hits to the fence before Dhoni’s lightning quick glovework sent back the batsman, stumped off Ravindra Jadeja.

Gujarat Titans' Shubman Gill is stumped-out by Chennai Super Kings' wicketkeeper captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Fellow opener Wriddhiman Saha made 54 and put on 64 runs with Sudharsan, who took charge after his partner’s departure.

He raised his fifty in 33 balls and then exploded, hitting Deshpande for a six and four boundaries in a 20-run over. Pandya joined the blitz in his unbeaten 12-ball 21.

Slingshot-action Sri Lankan fast bowler Matheesha Pathirana denied Sudharsan, who hit seven sixes, his hundred but Gujarat, who won the title in their maiden season last year, put up a challenging total.