‘The Prince of Indian batting,’ exclaimed Ian Bishop on commentary as Shubman Gill’s epic century powered Gujarat Titans to a sensational victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday.
Not only did Gill steal Virat Kohli’s thunder on a rainy Bengaluru evening, but also knocked RCB out of IPL 2023.
It was a battle royale between the King and his heir apparent in one of the memorable batting displays in an IPL match as both of them registered their second successive centuries this season.
This was only the fourth instance of two batters getting a century in an IPL match, and unbelievably Kohli has been part of three of them.
With RCB needing to win against Gujarat to stay alive, it was Kohli who set the tone with a lofted four over the covers off Mohammed Shami in the opening over.
It was Kohli at his vintage best as he produced three outstanding shots off pacer Yash Dayal for a hat-trick of fours in the fourth over.
Together with Faf du Plessis, Kohli guided RCB past the 50-run mark, in the fifth over — the eighth 50-run stand between the duo this season.
But Gujarat soon bounced back as they got du Plessis, Glenn Maxwell and Mahipal Lomror within the space of 14 balls.
Kohli kept pushing RCB in the middle overs with regular boundaries as he brought up his fifty from 36 balls. He stitched together a nice 47-run stand with Michael Bracewell before Gujarat again pegged back RCB with two quick wickets including Bracewell and Dinesh Karthik.
Kohli then took the onus on himself to get the boundaries in the death overs. He hit pacer Mohit Sharma for a couple of fours in the 16th over, before slamming a four and a six in the 18th over.
Shami also suffered as Kohli hit a couple of fours in the 19th over before bringing up his seventh IPL century in the final over.
Kohli became only the third batter to hit back to back centuries in the IPL. His seven centuries are the most by any batter in the IPL going past Chris Gayle’s previous record of six.
Courtesy of Kohli, RCB hit 61 runs from the last five overs, with Kohli scoring 38 from 18 balls to propel RCB to 197/5 in their 20 overs.
The packed M Chinnaswamy stadium was bubbling with confidence at the halfway mark. But Gill spoiled the perfect evening for the home fans with his match-winning knock.
Just like Kohli, Gill also started off positively in the Powerplay as he in the company of Vijay Shankar rallied Gujarat after Wriddhiman Saha’s early departure.
A six off pacer Vijaykumar Vyshak in the eighth over saw 23-year-old Gill go past the 600 run mark in IPL 2023. He never let the inexperienced leg-spinner Himanshu Sharma settle down, carting him for a six over midwicket in the ninth over and soon brought up his fifty from 29 balls.
Gill changed gears after getting to his half-century as he slammed off-spinner Bracwell for a couple of sixes as he kept Gujarat in control of the run chase.
His 123 run stand with Vijay Shankar looked to have taken the game away from RCB’s grasp before the hosts struck back with a couple of quick wickets.
The match was delicately poised with 50 needed from the last five overs. But Gill was not be rushed as he timed his final assault to perfection.
He targetted RCB’s best bowler Mohammad Siraj, hitting a couple of sixes in the 18th over and then hit another maximum off Harshal Patel in the next over to bring the chase under control.
Deservedly, he ended the match with a six off Wayne Parnell, which also helped him raise his century from 52 balls — his second fifty coming from just 23 balls to deliver RCB the knockout punch.
- IPL 2023
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