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IPL Final: Can Gujarat’s Gill spoil Chennai’s Dhoni ‘farewell’? | Cricket News

Chennai was at home in Gujarat to watch a record fifth IPL title, with more than 100,000 people expected to attend.

More than 100,000 people are expected to fill the world’s largest cricket stadium to watch the Indian Premier League final and the possible farewell of superstar MS Dhoni.

Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings will face defending champions Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad on Sunday, aiming to claim a record fifth title in the climax of the giants’ T20 tournament.

But Gujarat, led by Hardik Pandya, will not be easily beaten in their home game as they look to retain the title after a fairytale debut season victory a year ago.

In 2022, Pandya set a world record for a T20 cricket match by lifting the trophy in front of 101,566 fans in the 132,000-capacity stadium. But organizers are confident Sunday night’s record will be broken and, barring a surprise, Dhoni will be out as a player for the last time.

New Star VS Old Guard

Standing on the road in Chennai will be Gujarat opener Shubman Gill, who just broke a century in his last playoff match at the same venue on Friday – his third in the IPL.

Gill’s three IPL centuries have all come in his last four innings, his most recent a brutal 129 off 60 off five-time champions Mumbai Indians.

“He’s definitely going to be the role model you want to use to teach young players how to bat,” Gujarat cricket director and former England batsman Vikram Solanki said of Gill on Saturday.

“If you try to model a particular player, he has all the qualities of a world-class player.”

Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar called Gill a “player of a lifetime” on the ESPNcricinfo website.

Shub Mangil IPL
Gujarat Titans’ Shubmanjill leads batting charts this IPL season with 851 [Ajit Solanki/AP Photo]

“can’t dream”

With home advantage, the betting odds have Gujarat as the favourites, but Pandya remains cautious about their chances.

“We have to play good cricket and give our 100 per cent,” he said.

“Knockouts can go either way.”

Dhoni’s Chennai finished second behind top-ranked Gujarat in the group stage, but beat the defending champions in their first playoff match earlier this week to secure a berth in the final.

“It’s really hard not to look too far and dream of winning it again,” Chennai coach Stephen Fleming told reporters.

“Against Gujarat you have to keep your eyes open all the time, this is a good team, the most consistent throughout the game. We can’t dream too much.”

Fans line up to watch Dhoni lift trophy again

“The finals are sold out and we are expecting a full house,” a national association media official told AFP.

Suresh Babu, a software engineer, told AFP he had traveled from Chennai on the other side of the country “to watch Dhoni lift the trophy again”.

“I know it might be his last, but we pray that he will come back again next year,” added the 43-year-old, who was wearing Dhoni’s yellow Chennai jersey.

Dhoni remains a huge draw in cricket-crazed India, with the final considered to be his last game as a player, although the keeper-bassman said he will be out in his IPL later this year. future decisions.

The former India captain has filled venues across the country this season and the Narendra Modi Stadium was no exception in the tournament final.

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