The Hardik Pandya-led Gujarat Titans defeated inaugural champions Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets at Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad on Sunday. After restricting Sanju Samson & Co. to 130/9, the debutants chased down the target with 11 balls to spare.
Skipper Pandya, 28, led from the front with an inspired performance with both ball and bat. The India all-rounder first claimed three wickets (3/17) in a miserly spell, then scored 34 runs off 30 balls to not only guide his team to the title, but also won the Player of the Match award.
After opener Shubman Gill hit Obed McCoy for a six off the first ball in the penultimate over, Gujarat Titans players invaded the field to celebrate the win. Soon, Natasa Stankovic was seen with her husband. Visuals of their PDA has since gone viral. Here's the moment:
Later, Natasa shared photos of the celebration with the caption, "We love you @hardikpandya93. you deserve this and much more!"
Hardik Pandya, who was drafted as the captain of Gujarat Titans ahead of the IPL mega auction, had struggled with fitness issues in the run-up to the tournament. After a lacklustre outing in the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE, he was rested by the Indian team management.
But the star all-rounder returned with a vengeance to guide the debutants to the IPL title. He is now only the fourth Indian to win the IPL as a captain, after MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma and Gautam Gambhir.
Pandya has now five IPL titles. He previously won the trophy with Mumbai Indians.
Natasa Stankovic is a Serbian. The 30-year-old first came to the limelight after her appearance in 'DJ Wale Babu' song. She appeared in 'Bigg Boss' season 8 and 'Nach Baliye' season 9. She also made cameo appearances in movies like 'Action Jackson' and 'Zero'.
Hardik Pandya and Natasa Stankovic got engaged in 2020.