By Rajarshi Gupta: The final of the 2023 Indian Premier League between Chennai Super Kings and Gujarat Titans moved to Reserve Day on May 29 after unrelenting rain in Ahmedabad washed out play on Sunday at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
Heavy rain on Sunday meant the closing ceremony of the 2023 IPL could not take place and the toss was delayed. There was hope of some cricket action with the rain relenting in brief patches. The cut-off time for a full 20-over match was scheduled at 9.35 PM, while a five-over match could have started as late as 12.06 AM.
The rain stopped briefly minutes before the cut-off time for the full match was about to get over. The umpires had walked onto the field, the players were out in the middle and GT skipper Hardik Pandya, coach Ashish Nehra and members of the CSK team also came out to inspect the pitch after the covers were taken off.
However, as the ground staff raced against time to get the field ready for play before 9.35 pm, the rain returned, forcing players and match officials to rush back inside. The ground staff covered the pitch again. There were 60 percent chances of rain for the final on Sunday and unfortunately, heavy showers played spoilsport to the title clash on Sunday. There are chances of rain in Ahmedabad on Monday as well.
Rain had delayed the start of Qualifier 2 between Gujarat Titans and Mumbai Indians by 30 minutes on May 26. But a full game was possible after prompt action by the groundstaff as the rain stayed away. GT went on to win by 62 runs after Shubman Gill’s 129 helped them post 233 for 3 in their 20 overs and Mumbai Indians managed only 171 in response.
Gujarat Titans finished on top of the points table after winning 10 out of their 14 league matches, but they lost Qualifier 1 to Chennai Super Kings at Chepauk. Chennai Super Kings, who finished second in the points table, stormed into their 10th IPL final after victory over the Titans in Qualifier 1 last week. The two best teams in the tournament were scheduled to lock horns for the title on Sunday but rain washed out any hopes of play.
The rain started to ease off after 10:15 pm but the outfield was drenched. Rod Tuckers, one of the officiating umpires for the final, told STAR Sports he would start to get worried if it was still raining at 11 PM because the ground-staff would have needed an hour to get the ground ready for play for a five-over match which could have started from 12.06 AM. Even though the rain stopped minutes before 11 PM, play could not start on Sunday because there was no way the staff could have gotten the ground ready for play in time for the five-overs-a-side cut-off time.
This is the first final in the history of the Indian Premier League to have been affected by rain. Only one match in this entire season was washed out and incidentally, it involved Chennai Super Kings, who had travelled to play Lucknow Super Giants.