Shubman Gill’s sublime knock set it up with the willow and Lockie Ferguson built on it with the ball as Gujarat Titans broke Delhi Capitals’ resistance in style in the Indian Premier League at the Maharashtra Cricket Association’s International Stadium on Saturday.
Riding on Gill’s 84 (46b, 6x4, 4x6), Titans, one of the two new sides this IPL, recovered from a mini-stutter to put on 171 for six after being made to bat first. Ferguson’s (4/20) raw pace and precision with short-pitched bowling meant that despite a shorter boundary on one side, the Capitals fell short by 14 runs.
Ferguson rattled DC with a double-wicket burst in the Powerplay, shifting the onus on captain Rishabh Pant and Lalit Yadav. With Varun Aaron leaving the field after bowling just one over, the duo was trying its best to stretch the game deep. However, Lalit was run out after being sent back by Pant in the 12th over.
As it happened|
Ferguson was then brought back on, and he repeated the double-wicket act, accounting for Pant and Axar Patel in the 15th over with short balls.
Gujarat captain Hardik Pandya saved his fifth bowler, Rahul Tewatia, for the last over. In the 16th over, he brought on Rashid Khan, who got rid of Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Shami, bowling the 18th, trapped Rovman Powell, the designated finisher, to seal the deal for the Titans.
Had it not been for Gill’s classy knock, the Capitals would have been chasing a much lesser target. Gill put all the doubts about his questionable strike-rate to rest by playing the role of the anchor-cum-accelerator to perfection.
He displayed his wide range of strokes. Be it his stand-up swat through covers off pacers or his lap-shot to fine-leg off Khaleel Ahmed or the slog-sweep into the stands against the turn off Axar’s left-arm spin, Gill was at his sublime best.
The other feature of his innings was the elan with which he rotated the strike. Even when Vijay struggled to time in the ball in the Powerplay after Matthew Wade’s attempted innovation resulted in his downfall in the first over or when captain Hardik took his time early on, not once did Gill play two dot-balls in a row.
In fact, including his miscued half-pull off Khaleel that resulted in his dismissal in the 18th over, Gill’s innings had only six dot-balls. It ensured that the Titans, despite being unable to dominate as a unit, were never under the pressure.
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