Shubman Gill’s twin IPL tons put him in the most exclusive of statistical clubs
Shubman Gill scored his second successive IPL hundred last night (May 21), leading Gujarat Titans in a run-chase of 198 at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, and knocking Royal Challengers Bangalore out of IPL 2023 in the process.
Gill has long been touted as the next big thing across all forms of cricket from his India U19 days. He made his first mark on the international stage at the 2018 Under-19 World Cup, where he scored a century against Pakistan in the semifinal, earning a Player of the Match award. Reaction to his innings on that occasion drew parallels to Virat Kohli in style.
After over four years of promise, development, and growth, Gill finally seems to be having the sort of year that separates him from his contemporaries and places him in a league of his own.
His hundred against Bangalore last night (May 21) was his seventh century in 2023, where in five months he has passed three figures in all three forms of international cricket as well as in the IPL. Until the end of last year, he had just two international centuries to his name and none in the IPL.
After his hundred against Sunrisers last week and his performance in Bengaluru, he became only fourth player to register back-to-back IPL centuries. Jos Buttler, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli have all done so, making Gill part of one of the most exclusive T20 clubs.
Gill had never opened at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in the IPL before last night. He had previously played two innings coming in as a finisher at No.7 for KKR in 2018 and 2019, but this was the first time he had the opportunity to play the full 20 overs at statistically one of the best venues for batting in India. And he made the most of it.
While he hit just one six in his century against SRH in Ahmedabad, he made up for that count at the Chinnaswamy, hitting eight maximums and making use of the short boundaries and the flat surface. Eight is the highest number of sixes Gill has hit in any innings in the IPL, and his maximums included one off the final ball of the match to reach his hundred. His previous highest aggregate of sixes – seven – also came this year, during his near-miss knock of 94 against Lucknow Super Giants.
Gujarat needed to make sure that they did not fall behind the asking rate in the steep chase of 198 as rain threatened throughout the match. Gill made sure that was taken care of and took calculated risks at regular intervals. He mostly preferred the leg side, scoring 54 of his 104 runs between long-on and square leg, with his most productive shot being the trademark short-arm pull, which fetched him three sixes.
Gill finished the innings not out on 104 off 52 balls at a strike rate of 200 – his first knock in excess of 30 at a strike rate of 200 or more in his IPL career.
It was his tenth score of more than 50 for Gujarat Titans since last year. All but one of them have resulted in victories for the side. It was also the sixth time that he faced 50 or more balls in an innings in his IPL career. Each of those six occasions has resulted in a victory for his team.
After the conclusion of the league stage of IPL 2023, Gill now stands second in the list of highest run-scorers, with 680 runs from 14 innings at a strike rate of 152.5. With at least two more matches to come, he has a great chance to end up with the orange cap and break a few more records along the way.
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