By: Chandrashekar Bhat
Shubman Gill hit an unbeaten 104 to trump Virat Kohli’s record century as holders Gujarat Titans knocked Royal Challengers Bangalore out of the IPL with a six-wicket victory on Sunday (21).
The result allowed five-time winners Mumbai Indians to fill the fourth and final play-off spot after they hammered Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets in the first match of the day.
Gill starred in the final group match with a 52-ball knock that steered Gujarat to victory with five balls to spare.
Gill hit the winning six to raise his second straight ton.
His hundred was the event’s third of the day after Cameron Green’s match-winning 100 for Mumbai and then Kohli’s 101 not out.
“As a bowler, Gill doesn’t give you a chance,” Gujarat skipper Hardik Pandya said of his star batsman, who put on a key 123-run stand with Vijay Shankar, who made 53.
“Other batters also get confidence from it.”
Kohli hit his second successive hundred and seventh in the IPL to overtake Chris Gayle’s six and steer Bangalore to 197-5 in a match that started an hour late due to rain in Bengaluru.
The effort was in vain as Kohli’s wait for an elusive IPL title goes on for another year.
“A lot of people think that my T20 cricket is declining, I don’t feel like that at all. I think I am playing my best T20 cricket again,” said Kohli after an innings which featured 13 fours and a six.
“I’m just enjoying myself. This is how I play T20 cricket.”
Mumbai will play Lucknow Super Giants, who became the third team to make the play-offs on Saturday (20), in the eliminator on Wednesday (24).
Table-toppers Gujarat and second-placed Chennai Super Kings will clash in the first qualifier on Tuesday (23).
The winner of Qualifier 1 will head straight to the final in Ahmedabad on May 28 and the loser will play the winner of the eliminator.
Kohli started strongly in a 67-run opening partnership with skipper Faf du Plessis, who made 28 to stay on top of the batting chart with 730 runs.
Kohli, who made a match-winning 100 in Bangalore’s previous game, had moved behind Du Plessis in the batting list with 639 runs but Gill toppled the senior star to take second spot with 674 runs.
“Virat played an unbelievable knock to give us a chance and thought that was a good score,” said Du Plessis. “But Shubman played incredibly well to take the game away from us.”
In the first match, Green starred for Mumbai with his first ever T20 century as he hit a 47-ball unbeaten 100 to drive his team home with two overs to spare.
Green, a big buy for Mumbai for $2.11 million in the auction, stood out with eight fours and eight sixes.
After Rohit Sharma’s departure, Green kept up the charge and put on an unbeaten partnership with Suryakumar Yadav, who hit 25, to register their eighth win in 14 group matches.
Medium-pace bowler Akash Madhwal set up victory with figures of 4-37 to check Hyderabad to 200-5, a total that looked to go bigger but for some disciplined bowling.
Hyderabad, led by Aiden Markram, took the wooden spoon in the 10-team table.