Hardik Pandya on Sunday became the second-most successful IPL player and fourth Indian captain to win the title. He has won five cups only next to Rohit Sharma’s six. 

The Gujarat Titans defeated the Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets in the final to win IPL 2022. 

Pandya parted ways with the Mumbai Indians ahead of IPL 2022. The star all-rounder served the team for six years and played a pivotal role in four title-winning campaigns. He was then slotted in a new franchise, Gujarat Titans, and named captain. 

Pandya had been in and out of competitive cricket after 2019. A back surgery in London and rehabilitation saw the star all-rounder miss quite some action in early 2020. Back for the IPL, he was not so effective. The 28-year-old scored played as a pure batter and scored 268 runs in 16 games. He could manage only 127 in 2021. The Baroda-based player did not bat at all. 

However, his fortunes took a turn for good in 2022. Taking on his first captaincy job, Pandya led his team, the Gujarat Titans, to the final in their debut season. He managed to win with what was dubbed as one of the ‘weakest squads’ after the mega-auction. 

The team won 10 games, lost four and finished on the top of the IPL 2022 points table. They then defeated the Rajasthan Royals in Qualifier 1 to qualify for the final. 

Playing in front of his home crowd, 1,24,998 people cheering for him at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, Pandya registered his best IPL figures. The GT skipper took three wickets for 17 runs with the ball in the first innings to restrict the Rajasthan Royals to 130 runs. 

One key highlight of the first innings was Pandya’s understanding of the game. The skipper maintained pressure from both ends. Bowling well from one side, he employed the likes of Rashid Khan on the other. The two, along with Yash Dayal, suffocated Sanju Samson and co in the middle-overs and their innings never got going. 

With the bat, Hardik Pandya, ahead of the final, had scored 469 runs in 15 games at an average of 46.90 and strike rate of nearly 130. The highest run-scorer for Gujarat scored four half-centuries and remained unbeaten on five occassions. He has picked eight wickets at an economy of 7.27 rpo.