Gujarat Titans won the toss and opted to bowl first in the last match of the league stage. Kohli struck his second ton in as many innings in the process also breaking Chris Gayle’s record for most IPL tons. He now has seven to his name. Kohli and Faf du Plessis (28 off 15) added 67 for the first wicket before Noor Ahmad had the latter caught for at slip.
Glenn Maxwell was cleaned up by Rashid Khan for 11, while Mahipal Lomror (1) was stumped down leg off Ahmad’s bowling. Kohli, however, found support from Michael Bracewell (26 off 16) and Anuj Rawat (23 not out off 15) as RCB progressed towards the 200-run mark. They finished on 197/5 as Kohli struck 11 fours and a six.
In the chase, Wriddhiman Saha was out for 12, caught brilliantly by Wayne Parnell off Mohammed Siraj’s bowling. Gill and Impact Sub Vijay Shankar (53 off 35) then added 123 for the second wicket. Gill struck five fours and eight sixes in his innings, while Shankar contributed seven fours and two sixes.
The latter perished to Vijaykumar Vyshak after racing to his fifty with a couple of big hits. Dasun Shanaka (0) and David Miller (6) then perished to Harshal Patel and Siraj respectively. However, Gill stayed till the end and lofted Parnell for the six in the last over to lift GT to victory and send RCB crashing out of the competition.
Reflecting on the win, GT skipper Hardik Pandya, “The calmness which the boys had was terrific. We wanted to keep the momentum going. We have ticked a lot of boxes.”
On Gill, the captain said, “He knows when he plays those cricketing shots and bats like a batter, it's a different Shubman Gill. Today, the kind of options he picked and the kind of places where he was hitting, as a bowler he doesn't give any chance. That makes him very special and the other batter gets confidence from him as well.”
GT will now meet Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Qualifier 1 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Tuesday, May 23.
--By A Cricket Correspondent