Glorious Gill steers Gujarat Titans into playoffs

Glorious Gill steers Gujarat Titans into playoffs

The Gujarat Titans became the first IPL team to qualify for the playoffs in the 2023 season as the defending champions cruised to a comprehensive win over the Sunrisers Hyderabad at home on Monday. Shubman Gill’s silky century – his first in the IPL – pushed Gujarat to a menacing score of 188 for 9 batting first before Mohammed Shami and Mohit Sharma picked up eight wickets between them, lifting Gujarat to a 34-wicket win.

The Sunrisers began brightly in Ahmedabad, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar nicking off Wriddhiman Saha in the first over, but soon succumbed to the touch and timing of Gill. The opener pierced the gaps in the powerplay and put Gujarat into the ascendency alongside Sai Sudarshan, who replaced the injured Vijay Shankar in the side. Gill creamed Fazalhaq Farooqi for four boundaries in a row inside the powerplay, while the left-hander laced a couple of gorgeous cover drives early on, taking the Titans to 65 for 1 in six overs.

Gill raced away to a 22-ball half-century, his fifth this season, and punished the SRH spinners through the middle on a surface offering little turn. The opener took Gujarat to 103 for 1 at the halfway mark and continued to find the fence, putting on 147 runs for the second wicket with Sai Sudarshan – the highest partnership for the Gujarat Titans in the IPL.

Sudarshan got out to a smart catch from T Natarajan on 47 to end the mammoth stand in the 15th over, but Gill went on to score his maiden IPL century in 54 balls in the 19th. The hosts were set up for a grandstand finish on the back of Gill’s ton, but Bhuvneshwar Kumar displayed his mastery at the death to thwart the Titans. The seamer picked up three wickets in the final over, conceding just two runs, to finish with excellent figures of 5 for 30.

Chasing 189, the Sunrisers capitulated against the new ball as the Gujarat pacers ran through the Hyderabad top order. Anmolpreet Singh departed in the first over, while Abhishek Sharma and Rahul Tripathi nicked off for single figures, leaving the Men in Orange reeling at 12 for 3. Hyderabad’s troubles were exacerbated when Shami induced a leading edge off Markram that flew to Shanaka in the covers before Mohit Sharma chipped in with three wickets in his first two overs, reducing the Sunrisers to 59 for 7.

Heinrich Klaasen launched a lone fightback for SRH, continuing his fine form this season with another half-century. But the South African’s innings ended up being just a consolation for Hyderabad as Gujarat cruised to a 34-run win, securing a top-two finish in the IPL for the second consecutive season.