Five key moments that turned the IPL 2023 final

The turning points from a classic finale that went to the last ball with both sides holding the fort strong before CSK pulled it in their favour in Ahmedabad. 
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It was a perfect cat-and-mouse game until the last two deliveries where Ravindra Jadeja belted seamer Mohit Sharma for a six and a four to seal the epic IPL 2023 final in favour of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) against defending champions Gujarat Titans (GT). 

But as emphatic and decisive as the final moments were, the thrilling CSK-GT finale played in Ahmedabad late on Monday (May 29) night had five other key moments where the narrative went back and forth while the scale kept tiling one way or the other. 

It was the battle for the ages going until the last ball when Jadeja had to hit Mohit for four runs with the trophy on the line, featuring these five moments where the game turned on its head and added to the memorable spectacle that the rain-marred final eventually came to be. 

Five turning points from CSK v GT IPL 2023 final

MS Dhoni rewinds the clock with Shubman Gill stumping 

Shubman Gill started the final as if he is set to dominate once again and take the game completely away from CSK. The prodigiously talented GT opener with 851 runs in his previous 16 knocks of IPL 2023 had raced along to another 39* off 19 and given his team the perfect launchpad in the powerplay alongside Wriddhiman Saha. 

Losing the field-restriction phase by a distance, CSK needed to get back in the race immediately with a breakthrough. This is when Dhoni pulled off arguably one of the best stumpings of his illustrious career to send Gill packing. 

The legendary keeper collected a Ravindra Jadeja turner that evaded Gill's forward push by minimal distance and executed the stumping in a split-second, giving the batter no time to stand resurrected. As usual, the great man made no fuss or showed emotions and quietly slipped into celebrations with his teammates, while the world stood in awe of what he had just done. 

Sai Sudharsan's brutal assault against Tushar Deshpande 

From the point they dismissed Gill, CSK managed to claw their way back into the game. Over the next nine overs until the fag end of the middle phase, Dhoni's men enjoyed relative ease on run-scoring. Given the extremely wet bowling conditions on a super flat deck, they would've been pleased with the score of 153/2 at the close of the 16th over, looking set to keep GT below the 200 mark. 

But the Titans ultimately finished with an imposing 214 thanks to the timely assault that their in-form No.3 Sai Sudharsan executed to perfection against the expensive Tushar Deshpande. Batting 57* off 35 deliveries, the Tamil Nadu player was set for the late-overs flourish and he identified the brittle and unstabled Deshpande for a big over. 

A six first ball was followed by three consecutive fours as Deshpande once again failed to restrict the flow of runs for CSK and Sudharsan managed to bring the momentum back in GT's favour. The last four overs ultimately cost CSK 61 runs. 

Ambati Rayudu with timely onslaught in perfect farewell game 

Even as torrential mid-innings rains worsened the conditions for bowling, CSK had their work cut out in the run-chase where they now required 171 to win in just 15 overs. The four-time winners would've ideally wanted one substantial knock, to which the rest could just rally around and take the game deep. That didn't happen, but they found multiple cameos of huge impact on the game. 

While the ones played by their prolific opening duo Ruturaj Gaikwad (26) and Devon Conway (47) and middle-order aggressors Ajinkya Rahane (27) Shivam Dube (32*) and Ravindra Jadeja (15*) would hog most of the limelight, an innings that helped CSK overcome the stiff required rate at the tale end of the run-chase was produced by their outgoing stalwart Ambati Rayudu. 

Walking in at No.5 at the fall of the blistering Rahane 2.0 near the close of the 11th over, Rayudu had to immediately go blazing with the bat in hand. With 54 needed off the last 25 balls, the batter played a legacy-defining cameo of 19 from just 8 balls, hitting two maximums, to ease the stiff asking rate for CSK by the time he was dismissed two overs later. 

It wasn't an innings that would be remembered in times to come but one that definitely left its imprints on the game without receiving its due praise - just like Rayudu's entire career in CSK jersey where he remained their darkhorse warrior, who did it all to keep the side healthy and competitive. 

The stunning Shami pull GT back with a special 19th over 

The series of impactful and affluent cameos were beginning to now take the game away from Titans and snatch victory for CSK. But the experienced Mohammad Shami had other ideas as he delivered a terrific penultimate over to once again pull things back in GT's favour. 

Requiring 21 off the last two overs with five wickets in hand, CSK had the game firmly in their grasp. But the lengthy batting unit could muster just eight runs off the following over where Shami nailed his trademark yorkers to perfection under extreme pressure. In a game where 11 runs an over were scored from either side, Shami finished with an ER of 9.70 in his quota. 

Mohit Sharma's yorker plan nearly pulls it off for Titans 

Defending 13 off 6, Mohit Sharma backed the skill that had enabled his inspirational fairytale comeback into prominence as an IPL seamer: yorkers. Facing the rampaging Ravindra Jadeja, the experienced Haryana seamer pull off four consecutive deliveries perfectly in the blockhole, not allowing Jadeja or his equally smashing partner Shivam Dube to get underneath for their big shots. 

The plan was working its magic for the Titans, who needed just one more good ball that would avoid the boundary and tilt the equation decisively in their favour with 10 required off 2. But Jadeja rained on Mohit's comeback parade by finally finding it in his arc and belting the penultimate ball for a six. 

Telling off the balance of power between the bat and the ball in the shortest format, it took Jadeja just one big stroke to shift the pressure entirely onto Mohit. And for once in the season, the bowler faltered by sending down a leg-stump half-volley, which Jadeja tapped past the fielder behind square on the on-side, leaving the pacer in absolute despair.