Gill’s magnificent century propels the Titans into the IPL final.In a thrilling encounter at Ahmedabad, Shubman Gill’s sensational innings of 129 off just 60 balls propelled the Gujarat Titans into the IPL 2023 final with a resounding 62-run victory over the Mumbai Indians.
The match was initially delayed by rain, causing a 30-minute setback. Given the uncertain weather conditions, Rohit Sharma, the Mumbai Indians’ captain, chose to field first after winning the toss. The Titans faced a shaky start but found their savior in Gill, whose brilliant century guided them to a colossal total of 233 for 3.
Remarkably, this was Gill’s third hundred in just four matches, placing him among the elite company of Virat Kohli and Jos Butler, who have achieved similar feats in previous IPL editions. With these innings, Gill’s run tally for the season reached an impressive 851, surpassed only by Kohli’s 973 in 2016 and Butler’s 863 in 2022. No team had successfully chased down such a mammoth target in the history of the IPL, and Mumbai Indians faced an uphill battle from the start.
However, they didn’t surrender without a fight. Suryakumar Yadav and Tilak Varma formed a promising partnership, taking Mumbai to 72 runs within the first six overs before Rashid Khan dismissed Varma. Suryakumar valiantly kept his team’s hopes alive with a splendid knock of 61 off 38 deliveries. But the tide turned when Mohit Sharma shattered his leg stump with a well-directed delivery as Suryakumar attempted a scoop shot.
In the following over, Rashid trapped Tim David lbw, effectively extinguishing Mumbai’s aspirations of a miraculous comeback. Mohit, who had not bowled until the 14th over, utilized his repertoire of slower balls to great effect, finishing with outstanding figures of 2.2-0-10-5. His superb performance played a crucial role in dismantling the Mumbai Indians’ batting lineup and securing a place for the Gujarat Titans in the IPL 2023 final.
They will now face the Chennai Super Kings at the same venue on Sunday as they strive to defend their title. Despite registering at least one boundary in each over from the second to the fifth, the Titans could only accumulate 38 runs without losing a wicket in the initial five overs. However, Shubman Gill seized the opportunity during the last over of the powerplay, where he targeted Chris Jordan.
On the second legal delivery, which was too short and sat up on the sticky pitch, Gill patiently waited and disdainfully pulled it over deep square leg for a resounding six. The subsequent delivery was slightly short outside off, and Gill showed no mercy as he fiercely cut it to the cover boundary.
Fortune favored Gill as well. In the same over bowled by Jordan, he struck a punchy shot in the direction of mid-on. Tim David, despite diving and getting both hands to the ball, failed to hold onto it. This incident occurred when Gill was 30.
The Titans concluded the powerplay with a score of 50 without losing a wicket, but Wriddhiman Saha struggled to find his timing. In the fourth over of the innings, Akash Madhwal delivered a skiddy bouncer that struck Saha on the helmet, causing discomfort. Shortly after, Piyush Chawla managed to stump Saha with a leg-side wide. It marked the sixth instance this season, out of 16 innings, in which Chawla struck in his first over of the match.
Gill reached his fifty off 32 balls and then unleashed his full prowess. Within the span of nine deliveries, he hammered five sixes and a four off Madhwal and Chawla. Even in the 90s, he did not ease up; his second fifty came in a mere 17 balls. Immediately after reaching his century, he smashed Cameron Green for six, followed by a four and another six. It was only when Gill eventually holed out to deep midwicket, off Madhwal’s bowling, that the Titans had amassed 192 runs by the 17th over.
During Shubman Gill’s remarkable innings, Sai Sudharsan played a supporting role. With nine wickets in hand, the Titans required both batsmen to launch an attack. However, the 18th and 19th overs yielded only 16 runs. Subsequently, Sudharsan, who scored 43 off 31 deliveries, was retired to allow for a more aggressive approach. Rashid Khan replaced him and wasted no time, hitting his first ball for a boundary. Hardik Pandya then provided the finishing touches by striking the last two deliveries of the innings for a four and a six.
In the pursuit of quick runs, Tilak Varma showcased his power-hitting skills. He began by hitting two sixes in his first four balls and then proceeded to punish Mohammed Shami with four fours and a six, accumulating 24 runs in a single over. Varma’s aggressive batting allowed him to reach 43 off just 13 balls, displaying excellent control over his shots.
However, Hardik Pandya turned to Rashid Khan to slow down the scoring rate. Surprisingly, Rashid bowled a slower delivery, clocking less than 85kph, which deceived Varma and knocked his stumps. This delivery was unusual as Rashid is typically known for his quicker deliveries.
After Varma’s dismissal, Cameron Green, who had retired hurt earlier in the match due to an injury to his left arm, returned to resume his innings and looked threatening. He and Suryakumar Yadav combined for a partnership of 52 runs in 5.2 overs before Josh Little dislodged Green’s leg stump with a delivery that seamed in from a good length.
Meanwhile, Suryakumar continued to fight valiantly in the middle. He reached his fifty off 33 balls with a scoop-pull shot over the wicketkeeper’s head. He reduced the required runs to 79 from 34 balls before Mohit Sharma dismissed him. Two deliveries later, Mohit claimed the wicket of Vishnu Vinod, who came on as a concussion substitute for Ishan Kishan after the latter was accidentally elbowed in the face by Chris Jordan.
Vinod was caught at extra cover. Tim David became Mumbai’s last hope, but as usual, Hardik Pandya held back Rashid Khan’s final over, saving it for the 16th over. With his third ball, Rashid trapped David lbw. The batter opted for a review, but the decision stood as he was clearly out. From the other end, Mohit Sharma cleaned up the remaining tail-enders, securing his maiden five-wicket haul in T20 cricket.