Gill hits second ton in a row to knock out RCB

Virat Kohli had set up a good score with his second consecutive hundred but RCB didn’t have the bowling penetration to bother Gujarat Titans.

Virat Kohli became the third player in IPL history to score consecutive hundreds and surpassed Chris Gayle’s all-time record of six IPL centuries but Shubman Gill countered it with a quicker hundred—also his second in a row—to propel Gujarat Titans to a six-wicket win in a match Royal Challengers Bangalore had to win to qualify for the playoffs.

Having beaten Sunrisers Hyderabad in Sunday’s earlier game, Mumbai Indians joined Titans, Chennai Super Kings and Lucknow Super Giants after Gill deposited a free-hit from Wayne Parnell behind the sight screen to reach a scintillating century (104*) that eliminated RCB.

Rain had given RCB the jitters in the evening but the skies cleared up just in time for the match to start without any loss of overs. Put in to bat, RCB were in a spot of bother after losing three top-order batters within 10 overs but Kohli scored a calculated yet resplendent hundred while marshalling the innings with the help of Michael Bracewell and Anuj Rawat.

In reply, Titans rode Gill’s mature innings that was tempered by a fine fifty from Vijay Shankar (53 off 35 balls).

Had it not been for the wickets lost in quick succession towards the end, this would have resulted in a comprehensive win for Titans. Dasun Shanaka and David Miller were dismissed within two overs of each other after Gill and Shankar had set up the innings with a 123-run partnership. But with Gill still on top of his game, Titans were never really bothered. Gill hit Mohammed Siraj for two sixes in the same over Miller was sent back before following it up with another six off Harshal Patel till Parnell was asked to defend seven in the last over. He messed up his lines, allowing Gill to carve a memorable finish.

Statistically, 197 is a great score but barely par at the Chinnaswamy. RCB wouldn’t even have got there had it not been for Kohli’s prudence when wickets were falling in clusters. Faf du Plessis was warming up to his job when Noor Ahmad got him to miscue a wild heave, with the ball taking an edge and thudding into the keeper’s knee before ballooning up to Rahul Tewatia at slip. Glenn Maxwell, who was having a rare great IPL season, was done in by a skidder from Rashid Khan just five balls into a promising innings. And when Kohli needed an experienced hand towards the end, Dinesh Karthik lasted just one ball trying to pull Yash Dayal.

That forced Kohli to stay in charge of the innings till the last ball. It was a trademark Kohli innings though, laced with 13 controlled boundaries and plenty of twos dissecting the gaps on a slightly heavier outfield. With the onset of the slog overs, Kohli just upped his game, hitting a flurry of boundaries. But the final flourish was subdued in comparison as Kohli just got one delivery after reaching his hundred off the first ball of the 20th over. Still, it’s hard to fault such an innings against the backdrop of a jittery start.

“A lot of people feel my T20 cricket is declining, but I don't feel like that at all,” Kohli told the broadcasters during the innings break. “I feel I am playing my best again, enjoying myself, hitting gaps and big ones at the end. You have to rise to the occasion when the situation demands, and I take a lot of pride in doing so, and I've been doing it for a while now.”

Yet, it wasn’t enough. In hindsight, it could be said RCB had lost the match at many junctures despite putting up a good score. Their bowling lacked enterprise beyond Siraj’s powerplay burst and Patel’s slower balls. But the biggest difference was spelt out in the first innings when RCB hit just three sixes at a venue with the shortest boundaries in IPL. More astonishing was the fact that till the 18th over, RCB had managed just one over-boundary, when Maxwell clobbered Noor Ahmad over long-on in the eighth over. By the same time, Titans had hammered six. The match was probably won there itself.

Disclaimer: This Article is auto-generated from the HT news service