Shubman Gill just refuses to live in the shadows. The uber-talented batter upstaged the master craftsman in Virat Kohli to earn Gujarat Titans (GT) a fine six-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Sunday.
The result sent RCB out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) with Mumbai Indians taking the last playoffs spot.
Kohli (101 n.o., 61b, 13x4, 1x6) had become only the third batter in IPL history – after Shikhar Dhawan and Jos Buttler – to score back-to-back centuries. Gill, not to be left behind, became the fourth (104 n.o., 52b, 5x4, 8x6) and helped GT chase down the 198-run target with five balls to spare.
The 23-year-old sparkled with his iron-fist-in-a-velvet-glove batting style. He scored the odd boundary, worked the doubles and showed his class in the eight sumptuous hits into the stands.
Two of those came in the 18th over from Mohammed Siraj. With 34 needed from 18 balls, Gill swung one over deep mid-wicket and flat-batted another beyond the rope.
With eight needed from the last over, Wayne Parnell bowled a no-ball and a wide before Gill ushered the end with a six over long-on.
Earlier, thunderstorms delayed the start of the contest by 55 minutes, and after the rain fury, RCB began sedately (10 runs from two overs). But Kohli and Faf du Plessis soon exploded, scoring nine boundaries in a span of 13 deliveries.
Hardik Pandya had to summon Rashid Khan, and the Afghan, along with compatriot Noor Ahmad, slammed the brakes. From overs seven to 10, RCB added just 31 runs to its PowerPlay score of 62, and lost du Plessis, Glenn Maxwell and Mahipal Lomror.
All-rounder Michael Bracewell, however, shifted gears (26, 16b, 5x4) before Kohli provided the end-overs flourish, with his dexterity coming to the fore.
Mohit Sharma was creamed past backward point, Yash Dayal blasted into the deep mid-wicket stands and Mohammed Shami flicked through square-leg.
The century came off just 60 balls but didn’t provide the happy ending Kohli would have craved for.
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