Magnificent Shubman Gill dazzled in the Ahmedabad night sky to power Gujarat Titans into the IPL 2023 final with a 62-run win over Mumbai Indians in Qualifier 2 at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
Gallant Gill (129 off 60) smashed his third century of the season with some sensational strokeplay, ably supported by Sai Sudharsan (43 off 31), to propel Gujarat Titans to a mammoth 233/3. Mohit Sharma then bowled a match-turning spell of 5/10 as a collective bowling effort saw Gujarat Titans bowl Mumbai Indians out for 171.
Chasing 234, Mumbai Indians were jolted early as Mohd. Shami had Impact Player Nehal Wadhera, who had come out to open with Rohit Sharma following an injury to Ishan Kishan, caught behind off just the fifth ball of the innings. MI then suffered another injury blow as Cameron Green had to go off retired hurt after being hit flush on the elbow off a short ball from Pandya. Things got worse for the away side as Rohit walked back in the next over, top edging one high in the air with Josh Little taking a tricky catch safely.
Green then came back to bat after injuring his elbow earlier and continued the momentum with Suryakumar Yadav as the duo hit a slew of boundaries including three fours off Rashid’s over to take MI to 110/3. Hardik Pandya then brought Impact Player Josh Little into the attack and he struck in his first over to dismiss the in-form Green (30 off 20) and break the 51-run stand.
Tilak Varma though went on a stunning counter-attack as he hit four fours and a six off the Shami over. He cracked a four off Rashid Khan in the next over but the Afghanistan spinner bounced back hard to clean him up off the last ball of the Powerplay as MI reached 72/3 at the end of first six overs. Suryakumar then picked up the mantle and smashed a quick-fire 33-ball fifty as he kept MI in hunt along with Vishnu Vinod, who replaced Ishan Kishan as a concussion substitute. In between, Vinod got lucky as Shami couldn’t hold on to a catch running backwards.
Mohit Sharma then arrived into the attack and provided a seminal moment in the match as he cleaned up Suryakumar Yadav (61 off 38) after the MI batter had cracked a six off the earlier delivery. MI lost the way from then on as Mohit dismissed Vinod in the same over before Rashid came back to trap Tim David LBW in the next over to reduce MI to 158/7. Mohit was unstoppable as he had Jordan and Piyush Chawla back in the hut in his next over and then picked up his fifth by having Kumar Kartikeya caught at long on to bowl MI out for 171. Mohit finished with sensational figures of 5/10, his best in IPL, as GT cruised to a 62-run win.
Earlier, Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and elected to bowl. They made one change to the starting XI as Kumar Kartikeya replaced Hrithik Shokeen. They named Ramandeep Singh, Nehal Wadhera, Vishnu Vinod, Raghav Goyal and Sandeep Warrier as their substitutes.
Gujarat Titans made two changes to the starting eleven as B Sai Sudharsan and Vijay Shankar replaced Dasun Shanaka and Darshan Nalkande. Josh Little, KS Bharat, Odean Smith, Sai Kishore and Shivam Mavi made it to Gujarat Titans’ substitutes list.
Gujarat Titans got off to a brisk start courtesy openers Wriddhiman Saha and Shubman Gill as the pair added 53 runs for the opening wicket. After a tight first over which saw Jason Behrendorff concede just three, Shubman Gill opened his boundary account as he flicked one wide of short fine leg a four off Green. Saha hit his first boundary in the next over as he lofted one over mid on off Behrendorff.
Madhwal then pinged Saha’s helmet with a lethal bouncer as he missed his pull but Saha gave him a fantastic reply as he cracked one over point for a powerful four.
Gill continued to place them well as he clipped one wide of short fine leg for a four off Behrendorff and then Saha swiped one over square leg to end the over with a four and make it 11 off it.
Gill welcomed Chris Jordan into the attack in style with a six and a four off the first two balls. Jordan nearly made a perfect comeback as Gill hit one uppishly to mid on but Tim David couldn’t hold on to a tough chance as GT reached 50/0 at the end of the Powerplay.
Rohit then brought Piyush Chawla into the attack and as he has done throughout the season, the wily spinner struck in the first over as he outfoxed Saha with a clever delivery. He saw Saha dance down the track and darted in a quicker one down the leg side. Saha missed it and Kishan made no mistake. The two overs after Powerplay brought 14 runs and a wicket.
Gill and Sai Sudharsan brought back the momentum as the latter cracked a four off Chawla before Gill lofted one over the sightscreen to make it 16 off the over. Gill brought up yet another fifty, off 32 balls and then smacked an 89m six over deep square leg in the same over off Kartikeya to take GT to 91/1. The GT opener got a bit lucky in the next over as he smashed one back to Green who couldn’t hold on to a really tough catch. Gill then went absolutely berserk and smashed three sixes off Madhwal before taking on Chawla and hammering two sixes and a four to amass 20 runs off the over.
Sai Sudharsan joined the six-hitting party as he lofted one over long off for a six. Gill then brought up his third hundred of the season off just 49 balls in the 15th over, from Green. He followed it up with two sixes and a four off Green which included a tennis-forehadesque smash over deep mid-wicket as they accumulated 19 off the over.
Akash Madhwal finally broke the 138-run stand and brought an end to a scintillating 129-run innings as he had Gill caught at deep mid-wicket. Gill walked off to a standing ovation by a rapturous crowd at the Narendra Modi Stadium. GT then tactically retired out Sai Sudharsan and Hardik Pandya then took the centrestage to provide the final flourish with 28 off 13 as GT posted a mammoth 233/3.
GT introduced Josh Little as their Impact Player, replacing Shubman Gill while Nehal Wadhera was introduced as MI’s Impact Player, replacing Akash Madhwal at the start of the second innings. Wadhera walked out to open the batting with Rohit Sharma as Ishan Kishan, who had injured himself and suffered concussion, walked off the field following a collision with Jordan.