Ambati Rayudu finished his career in style as Chennai Super Kings beat defending champion Gujarat Titans by five wickets in the final at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad to win the IPL 2023 title.
Rayudu scored a quickfire 19 runs off just eight balls as CSK, in a rain-affected summit clash, chased down the target of 171 in 15 overs with Ravindra Jadeja hitting Mohit Sharma for a four on the final ball.
“It’s a fairytale finish. I couldn’t have asked for more. I’m fortunate to have played in really great sides. I can smile for the rest of my life. All the hard work I’ve done in the last 30 years, I’m happy I got to finish on this note. I would really like to thank my family, my father. Without them this wouldn’t have been possible,” said Rayudu after the final.
CSK pacer Deepak Chahar said that Rayudu was confident about leading CSK to the title. He said, “ Every time we had a discussion, he (Rayudu) kept telling me that I am going to win the final. The belief that he has is unbelievable. When you are playing, you just want to contribute. It was a simple plan. We knew we have to perform, even if it was just one game. We have to contribute to the team to win the final.”
The 37-year-old Rayudu had announced on Sunday that he will retire after the summit clash in Ahmedabad. “2 great teams MI and CSK, 204 matches, 14 seasons, 11 playoffs, 8 finals, 5 trophies. Hopefully 6th tonight. It’s been quite a journey. I have decided that tonight’s final is going to be my last game in the IPL. I truly enjoyed playing this great tournament. Thank u all. No u turn,” Rayudu announced on Twitter.
Rayudu made his IPL debut in 2010 with the Mumbai Indians in 2010 and played for the side till the 2017 season, winning three titles. Rayudu was snapped up by CSK for the 2018 season where he recorded his best IPL season with 602 runs in 16 innings at an average of 43. Rayudu also recorded his best of 100 not out in the same edition.
In 2022, the then 36-year-old prematurely announced his IPL retirement after his fifth season with CSK. “I am happy to announce that this will be my last ipl. I have had a wonderful time playing it and being a part of 2 great teams for 13 years. Would love to sincerely thank Mumbai Indians and Csk for the wonderful journey,” Rayudu had tweeted. The post was, however, deleted within an hour after intervention from the CSK management.
Before Monday’s final, Rayudu featured in 15 matches this season, aggregating 139 runs.