Indian Premier League (IPL) side Gujarat Titans won the 2023 Sportstar Aces Popular Choice Award for Club of the Year at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai on Monday.
“It’s a huge honour for me to stand on behalf of every Gujarat Titans member. Thanks to The Hindu group and Sportstar. I accept this award very humbly on behalf of every Titan – not just the team or management but also millions of followers who have joined us since we joined the IPL. – Not many gave us a chance last year but we are here to chart a course of for ourselves,” said Arvinder Singh, Chief Operating Officer.
Led by skipper Hardik Pandya, Titans clinched the title in their debut season after thrashing Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets in a one-sided final in front of home fans in Ahmedabad. Pandya led by example, picking three for 17, including the key wickets of Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson and Shimron Hetmyer and anchoring Gujarat’s chase with a 30-ball 34 before Shubman Gill and David Miller imparted the finishing touches.
Titans dominated the season throughout, winning 10 out of 14 league matches to qualify for the playoffs as the top-ranked team. It eked out a nervy win against Royals in Qualifier 1 when it found match-winners in Pandya and Miller, who starred in a tricky 189-run chase.
The defining feature of Gujarat’s maiden IPL campaign was the way in which different players stepped up in crunch situations. Rashid Khan scored crucial runs lower down the order at a strike rate of over 200 and was also the second-highest wicket-taker for GT with 19 scalps. Rahul Tewatia struck blinding cameos to pull off incredible heists, including hitting two back-to-back sixes when the team needed 12 off two balls against Punjab Kings.
Then, some players found redemption. An ageing Wriddhiman Saha, thought to be in the twilight years of his career by many, scored vital runs opening the batting. Miller rediscovered his big-hitting prowess after almost six forgettable seasons.
To top it all, captain Pandya sounded the perfect clarion call for national selection with his all-round individual brilliance and leadership acumen after injury kept him out of action for a prolonged period.
Former India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar, former India hockey captain M. M. Somaya, chess great Viswanathan Anand, former India football skipper Bhaichung Bhutia, Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and Olympians Anjali Bhagwat and Aparna Popat are the members of the Sportstar Aces 2023 jury.
The event is supported by IDFC First Bank, Indian Oil, India Cements, United India, Ramaiah University, Experimenta Science Center GD Naidu Charity, Finolex Pipes, LIC, BPCL, Samsonite, Big Basket, Nippon Paint, CRICHQ, Wordswork, NewsX and Casagrand.