Shubhman Gill on Sunday showed why he was the in-form batter in the Indian Premier League after smashing his second century of the tournament to lead the Gujarat Titans to a six-wicket win over the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
It was a ceremonial handing over off the torch as Gill responded to Virat Kohli’s second ton of the season with one of his own to deny Kohli and RCB a spot in the IPL playoffs.
After Mumbai Indians won their match against the Sunrisers Hyderabad early in the day, RCB knew that only victory against table-toppers GT would give them a top-four finish. Kohli came out all guns blazing and hit an unbeaten 101 off 61 balls to propel the home side to 197/5.
In response, Gill, aided by Vijay Shankar’s 53 off 35, scored an unbeaten 104 off 52 balls to help GT chase down the target in the last over. It was Gill’s second ton on the trot having scored 101 against SRH in the previous match.
Speaking after being presented the Player of the Match award, Gill said, “I’m in good form. It’s all about getting a start and converting it into a big one. I felt in the first half of the IPL that I was missing out on some big ones, I was getting out on forties and fifties. But thankfully it’s all working out for me in the business end.
“I know my game and I think it’s important for me to be in that area. For any player it’s important to know what kind of player you are and just keep building on that, keep adding on that.”
“T20 is such a game that you have to keep playing shots. Sometimes you play good shots and they go straight in the hands of the fielder. You have to keep the intent and keep applying yourself and keep the belief, that’s important,” he added.
“Shubhman knows that when he plays those shots and bats like that, it’s just a different Shubhman Gill you see,” GT captain Hardik Pandya said.
“The kind of options he picked and the kind of areas where he was hitting, as a bowler, he doesn’t give you a chance, doesn’t give you the feel that you can get out. That makes him very special and obviously the other batters also get confidence from it,” he added.
The match was in danger of being washed out after heavy rains and hailstorm hit Bengaluru. However, after the rain relented, the world-class pitch drying system at the Chinnaswamy Stadium ensured that the match could begin without any overs lost. However, as the match went on, dew became a key factor in aiding GT’s chase.
“The new ball was holding on a bit,” said Gill. “But as the game went on, the pitch got easier to bat on. Also with the rain coming in, the ball was getting wet, it was difficult for their spinners to bowl on this pitch.”
Having lost opening partner Wriddhiman Saha early in the chase, Gill found able company in Vijay Shankar to motor on. However, the Tamil Nadu-native did not have the best of starts as he struggled to time his shots.
“I thought Vijay Shankar was trying to go too hard when he initially came in. We had a conversation and I told him ‘maybe you just need to hold your shape and time it instead of going too hard at it. Once he found the momentum, he is someone who can hit it a long way,” Gill said.
GT next play the Chennai Super Kings in the first Qualifier in Chennai on Tuesday.