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Ground staff cover the field during rains before the start of the IPL final between Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings in Ahmedabad on Sunday. Image Credit: AFP

Ahmedabad: The final of the Indian Premier League Season 16 between defending champions Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings in Ahmedabad has been shifted to Monday after heavy rains on Sunday have kept the players indoors. Though the downpour stopped around 11pm (9.30pm UAE), umpires and match referee felt the ground conditions will not be ready in time to complete the final on Sunday.

The untimely downpour has dampened the spirits of the fans across the world, who were eagerly waiting for the clash between the two best sides in the league this season. The next question in everyone’s mind is what are the scenarios for the game to start and the final to be completed.

Reserve day

The umpires had 9.35pm (8:06pm UAE) deadline to start the match without losing a single over has elapsed, even for a truncated five-a-side game to start, the cut off being 12.05 midnight (10.35 UAE). For the match to start, the rains should have stopped early to give the groundsman at least one hour to get it ready and also for the toss to be completed in the meantime.

The teams will return for the final on Monday, the reserve day earmarked for the contingencies.

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Ground staff waiting with super-sopper for rains to stop to remove the puddles of water on the outfield. Image Credit: ANI

The world’s biggest cricket stadium remained covered with rain lashing the western city an hour before start of play and leaving puddles of water on the ground.

The weather has pushed fans to get shelter in the covered areas of the 132,000-capacity ground.

Final match

The match is believed to be Chennai skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s last as player and fans have turned up in numbers wearing the yellow jersey of the superstar cricketer.

Chennai will be aiming for a record-equalling fifth title in the world’s richest cricket tournament.

Gujarat, led by Hardik Pandya, have extended their fairytale journey which began with a title win in their debut season last year at the same venue.

Coming a full circle

The final of IPL 2023 between Chennai and Gujarat also featured the same two teams on the opening day of the tournament, as the two-month-long league comes full circle on Sunday, with fans wearing Chennai’s yellow jersey thronging the stadium in large numbers.

On the other hand, Gujarat are the defending champions and seeking to win back-to-back IPL titles, becoming the third team to do so in the history of the competition.

Chennai Super Kings’ veteran batter Ambati Rayudu has announced that the final will be his last match, bringing a 14-year IPL career to an end.

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Chennai Super Kings' veteran batter Ambati Rauydu has announced his retirement from IPL. Image Credit: AFP

“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 have enjoyed playing in this great tournament. Thank u all. No, u-turn,” wrote Rayudu on his Twitter account ahead of the IPL 2023 final.

IPL debut

Rayudu made his IPL debut in 2010 with the Mumbai Indians and played for the side till the 2017 edition, winning three titles with them in 2013, 2015 and 2017. He was then roped in by Chennai ahead of the 2018 season.

In that edition, Rayudu had his best season with the bat, amassing 602 runs in 16 innings at an average of 43, including his highest individual score of 100 not out, as the side won the trophy after serving a two-year suspension due to involvement of a key official in spot-fixing and betting.

Overall, Rayudu has scored 4,329 runs in 203 matches, averaging 28.29 and a strike-rate of 127.29, including a century and 22 fifties, out of which 1,913 runs so far have come while playing for Chennai.