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There has been huge IPL draft news as Indian national cricket team player Hardik Pandya has made a remarkable return to his former side Mumbai Indians for the next season of the Indian Premier League in 2024. It was said that Pandya would be retained by the Gujarat Titans when the team retention lists were made public. However, in a turn of events, Pandya has now pledged his allegiance to his former team.

Hardik Pandya’s Time At Gujarat Titans

The Gujarat Titans were founded in late 2021 and they planned to enter the IPL in 2022. Pandya was drafted for the Gujarat Titans in 2022 ahead of their first ever season in the IPL and he was named captain.

2022 was a fantastic season for Hardik Pandya and the Gujarat Titans as he led them to victory over Rajasthan Royals in the final as they became champions in their debut year. Pandya was named player of the match in the final for a fantastic spell with the ball as he put up figures of 3/17 as they restricted their opponents to just 130 and he scored 34 runs from 30 balls in the run chase. Gujarat became only the second ever team to win the IPL in their first season, after Rajasthan Royals won the tournament in the first ever season back in 2008.

In the 2023 season, the Gujarat Titans topped the table just like they did in 2022 which meant they advanced into Qualifier 1 and faced Chennai Super Kings. CSK were victorious which meant that Gujarat Titans had to play off against the Mumbai Indians. The Titans comfortably defeated MI after setting an incredible score of 233 runs which Mumbai fell well short of. 

The IPL final of 2023 is said to be one of the greatest finals since the league began. The match made history for being the first ever final to use the reserve day after the game was meant to be played on May 28th however heavy rain pushed it back to May 29th. Gujarat Titans scored 214/4 with Pandya hitting 21 runs from 12 balls, the highest ever run score in an IPL final.

Play was delayed due to rain at the start of the CSK innings, meaning they had a revised target of 171 from 15 overs. Pandya only bowled 1 over which went for an expensive 14 runs as CSK chased down the target with a 4 in the very last ball.

Hardik Pandya’s Success At Mumbai Indians

Hardik Pandya played for the Mumbai Indians between 2015 and 2021 as he established himself as one of the best all-rounders in world cricket. In his 7 seasons with MI, Pandya won the IPL 4 times as they became the most successful team in the competition’s history with 5 titles, only to be matched by CSK this year as they won their 5th title.

Pandya’s most memorable IPL knock for Mumbai Indians came in 2019 vs Kolkata Knight Riders as they were set 233 to win. Pandya entered the middle with MI 58/4, but this didn’t stop him playing his shots as he smashed 91 off just 34 balls with an incredible strike rate of 2.68. MI lost the match by 34 runs but it still marks his best ever batting performance in the IPL.

Looking Forward To The IPL 2024

The seventeenth edition of the IPL is set to take place at the end of March 2024 with the same 10 teams as 2023 competing. Teams such as the Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Capitals will be looking to improve on last season’s disappointing display. The current favourites for the title are the reigning champions CSK, Gujarat Titans and Mumbai Indians.

Make sure to stay tuned with Cricket Today as we will be covering the IPL!