CSK vs GT IPL final pushed into reserve day after washout

By, Ahmedabad
May 29, 2023 07:14 AM IST

Heavy unseasonal rain in Ahmedabad forced the IPL final to be called off on Sunday with the match to be played on Monday.

The palpable excitement around MS Dhoni’s quest for a fifth Indian Premier League title among an expectedly packed house turned into a damp squib as unseasonal rains lashed in Ahmedabad to push the final into Monday’s reserve day.

People walk under umbrellas as it rains heavily before the start of the IPL 2023 final(PTI)
People walk under umbrellas as it rains heavily before the start of the IPL 2023 final(PTI)

It began drizzling at 6.30pm, an hour before the scheduled start, and started pouring heavily next, and then eased to reignite hopes of a shortened game before bucketing down around 10 pm. That’s when it started becoming clear that even a 5-over contest, the minimum required to constitute a match would not be possible on Sunday.

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“Please keep your physical tickets safe”, the message was flashed for the faithful on the protected upper tier of various stands. At 10.55 pm, it was declared that the match had been ‘moved to the reserve day’.

No country loves cricket more, definitely not in the same numbers. Before the heavens opened up, all roads led to Motera, the northwest neighbourhood of Ahmedabad that houses the Sardar Patel Sports Enclave and the Narendra Modi Stadium within the complex.

Counterfeit Dhoni No 7 jerseys were selling and how, across the many lanes that lead to the stadium. “With the Gujarat Titans home jersey not finding any takers, they were set to offer them free in some of the stands,” an IPL official said.

But the mood soon turned sombre and fans began getting soaked, no one having carried an umbrella for a May rain day. The reserve day gives the final another chance but for the assembled spectators – some were from Maharashtra and many CSK supporters had travelled from Tamil Nadu – were left to change their travel plans and cope with a logistical nightmare.

Locals like Raju Pathak wearing CSK’s yellow had made up his mind to come back on Monday. “Main aaonga, pata nahi fir Dhoni dekhne milenge ki nahi (I will come, don’t know if we will get to see Dhoni play again),” he said.

Rain relented by 11pm, but by then there was little time to dry the outfield. In the best interest of the competition and with advertising slots having been booked by both sets of broadcasters, it was decided to go for a full game on Monday rather than a late-night 5-over shootout.

Never before has the IPL final turned into a two-day contest. But it was a prudent call not to risk playing on an unfit outfield with the likes of GT pacer Mohammed Shami having to turn up for India in the World Test Championship final in 10 days.

The playing conditions would force the final to be decided by a Super Over, only if no play is possible on Monday.

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    Rasesh Mandani loves a straight drive. He has been covering cricket, the governance and business side of sport for close to two decades. He writes and video blogs for HT.

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