Shubman Gill held the Gujarat Titans innings together against Lucknow Super Giants on a pitch that was not easy to bat on in Pune on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old from Punjab batted from the first over to the last to remain unconquered on 63 from 49 balls with seven fours even as wickets fell at the other end, four in all including two in the Power Play overs, to take GT to a challenging 144.
Gill has had an inconsistent IPL despite being their highest run-scorer with 384 runs from 12 innings including four fifties. But the opening batsman’s talent cannot be discounted. Getting better year after year since making it huge as an India under-19 batsman and playing a lead role in India’s triumph in 2018 ICC Under-19 World Cup under Prithvi Shaw captaincy in New Zealand, Gill is certainly one for the future.
Already a Test player, Gill has a whole lot of future to make it big in international cricket. He has the right temperament as was seen on a difficult surface where the ball was not coming on well to the bat, Gill has only got better with every IPL outing since his debut for Kolkata Knight Riders in 2018, winning the Emerging Player of the Year in his second season.
Having played for KKR for four seasons and accumulated 1,417 at 31.49 with 10 fifties, Gill was one of the three players along with Hardik Pandya and Rashid Khan to be retained by Titans before the mega auctions earlier this year for a fee of ₹8 crore. He has not disappointed the franchise owners but consistency has been his problem.
After a duck to start the season with his new franchise against LSG, he made amends with 84 and a career best 96 before going through a series of low scores, the sequence reading 7, 13, 0, 7, 22, 31 and 9 before his 52 came in a losing cause against Mumbai Indians.
Gill scored his second successive fifty that was crucial in his team becoming the first team to seal their Play Offs berth. Gill, though, lived dangerously initially, taking risky singles and even putting his partner in danger on one occasion. However, when he was in good touch, his shots were of supreme quality. He looked to keep the ball along the ground, his couple of pull shots were played along the ground for fours, while a reserve hit off left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya showed that he can also go the unorthodox way in search of boundaries.
His fifty, the 14th of his career and fourth of this IPL, played a huge role in Gujarat Titans eventually winning by 62 runs in a low-scoring match. His 63 not out was way more than twice the next highest score in the match, 27 by Lucknow Super Giants’ Deepak Hooda.