Bengaluru, May 22 (IANS): Shubman Gill sizzled with an unbeaten 104 off 52 balls as while sharing a crucial 123-run partnership off 71 balls with Vijay Shankar to help Gujarat Titans beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by six wickets in final league match of IPL 2023 at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday.
After Virat Kohli slammed his second consecutive hundred of IPL 2023, and carried his bat through the innings to power Bangalore to a competitive 197/5, Gill shined with his scintillating strokeplay to hit five fours and eight sixes at a strike-rate of 200 to break countless hearts of crowd at the stadium by hunting down the total with five balls to spare.
The result in Bengaluru also means that five-time champions Mumbai Indians sealed last remaining spot for the playoffs and will face Lucknow Super Giants in the eliminator on May 24 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Chasing 198, Wriddhiman Saha and Gill hit two fours each in the first three overs. Saha, who was troubled by Mohammed Siraj, eventually fell to him in the third over when Wayne Parnell at cover jumped to take the catch with his outstretched left hand for a stunning one-handed take.
Vijay Shankar got a couple of outside edges off Parnell for fours, followed by lofting a six over long-on as Gujarat ended power-play at 56/1. While Shankar struggled to get his timing against spinners, Gill smacked Vyshak Vijaykumar down the ground for a clean six, followed by a lucky edge going for four and swiping Himanshu Sharma for a six over deep mid-wicket.
A change of bat saw Shankar cut Harshal Patel for four, followed by slog-sweeping between long-on and deep mid-wicket off Himanshu for another boundary. Gill ended the 11th over by dancing down the pitch to drive Himanshu through extra cover, followed by getting his fifty in 29 balls.
Gill then tore into Michael Bracewell's off-spin, picking up a delivery on pads over long leg for six and clobbered one over deep mid-wicket for another maximum. Gujarat's luck continued when Shankar got a four off an outside edge against Siraj. He then ramped and lofted Vyshak for two fours, before slogging him for six to get his fifty in 34 balls.
In a bid to get another six, Shankar holed out to deep mid-wicket on the very next ball, followed by Dasun Shanaka holing out in the same region in quick succession. After a no-boundary 17th over, Gill eased pressure with a short-arm pull off Siraj for six, though the pacer bounced back by having David Miller slicing to deep point.
Gill nailed a pull off Siraj over deep mid-wicket for six to bring the equation to 19 off 12 balls. He again brought out the nonchalant short-arm pull against Harshal for six, before finishing off the chase in style with a maximum over long-on bringing up his second IPL century in as many games.
Brief Scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 197/5 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 101 not out; Noor Ahmad 2/39) lost to Gujarat Titans 198/4 in 19.1 overs (Shubman Gill 104 not out, Vijay Shankar 53; Mohammed Siraj 2/32) by six wickets.