After Shubman’s match-winning unbeaten 52-ball 104 against RCB, Gujarat Titans leggie Rashid Khan reveals how his teammate is so hungry for runs
Gujarat Titans opener Shubman Gill celebrates his splendid century against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Garden City on Sunday. Pic/PTI
By the time Shubman Gill deposited Wayne Parnell deep into the stands behind long-on to signal Gujarat Titans’s six-wicket victory, a third of the M Chinnaswamy Stadium had emptied out. Reading the obvious writing on the wall—the elimination from the Playoffs race of Royal Challengers Bangalore—several thousands that had braved a huge downpour exited before the denouement, their disappointment obvious as their wait for a maiden IPL title spilled over to another year.
Sunday night saw the coming to the party of two different generations of Indian cricket. If it was Virat Kohli who had fired the first salvo with a superb hundred in the first half to haul the hosts to a competitive 197 for five, then Gill had the last laugh, his exuberant unbeaten 104 carrying the defending champions home with five deliveries to spare. Before Sunday, only two batsmen— Shikhar Dhawan and Jos Buttler—had made hundreds in successive IPL innings. That number doubled in three and a half hours as the cricket lover had his heart’s fill, though the home fan had little to cheer as Bangalore’s exit confirmed Mumbai Indians’ place in the Eliminator against Lucknow Super Giants.
‘Lucky to witness both tons’
“I am so lucky to witness two brilliant hundreds today,” gushed Gujarat leggie Rashid Khan, leading the Purple Cap standings alongside teammate Mohammed Shami with 24 wickets. “Virat bhai and Shubman, the way they both played, was unbelievable. Shubman has been working very hard. He has the belief that he can convert his 50s and 60s into hundreds, so he has been a very consistent player for us since last year. Played a brilliant innings and I am happy for him.”
Rashid, who took one for 24 earlier in the evening, was also delighted to receive a signed jersey from Kohli. “Finally,” he mock-sighed. “I am moving into a new home in Dubai and I will print this out and hang it there.”
Gill, meanwhile, left nothing hanging in the air despite losing Wriddhiman Saha fairly early in the chase. Vijay Shankar, the Impact Player, was his ally during an innings-stabilising second-wicket stand of 123, and while Shankar came into his own after a scratchy beginning, it was Gill who caught the eye with his wonderful admixture of exceptional timing and beautifully concealed power. Five fours were complemented by eight mellifluous sixes, ranging from flat pulls to giant drives down the ground.
There is consistency but...
Sanjay Bangar, the RCB coach, pointed to his team making the Playoffs for the last three years as a sign of consistency, though he did concede that there is work ahead: “We will go back to the drawing board and see what kind of continuity we want to give the players, and we will assess the season once the dust settles.”
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