Copy of 752926-01-02-1685171187759
Gujarat Titans' Shubman Gill plays a shot during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 second qualifier cricket match against Mumbai Indians at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. Image Credit: AFP

Ahmedabad: After his third century of the IPL 2023 season, a majestic 129 off 60 balls, helped Gujarat Titans reach the title clash with a 62-run win over Mumbai Indians in Qualifier 2, opener Shubman Gill said hitting three sixes in the 12th over off Akash Madhwal gave him a feeling that the day was for him to thrive at the Narendra Modi Stadium.

In that 21-run 12th over of Gujarat’s batting, Gill picked up a flick beautifully and muscled a pull for back-to-back sixes off Madhwal, and followed it up with a flick off the wrists to collect third six of the over.

“For me, it’s all about playing ball to ball, assessing the situation over by over. Maybe the over in which I hit three sixes, that’s when I got the momentum to go big and I realised maybe this is my day and I have to make it big, because it is a good wicket to bat on,” said Gill after the match ended.

Highest run-getter

In the process of hitting 129 with the help of ten sixes and seven fours while taking Mumbai’s bowlers to cleaners all over the park as Gujarat posted 223/3, Gill overtook Faf du Plessis to be the highest run-getter of the ongoing season. His sixes tally is at 33 this year, tied with Shivam Dube and just behind du Plessis, the most for him in an IPL season.

“(Six-hitting) is not a conscious decision. Obviously, you keep practicing, you want to keep growing, want to keep evolving as a batsman. But I feel the belief is more important and that’s what I have had this year and the last year as well,” he added on the reasoning behind hitting more sixes this year.

Gill is in the middle of a big purple patch, scoring one century in Tests and T20Is, three ODI tons, including 208 against New Zealand in Hyderabad and three IPL centuries in his last four innings of the ongoing season.

He credited the phase post tour of West Indies last year for making an evolution in his batting. “It helps when you are coming off a good international season with runs under the belt. With me, I know it’s about starting (well); I know once I start, I can keep going.”

“Last year, from the West Indies tour, that’s when I shifted gears. I got injured in 2021 leading up to the IPL and I was out for a couple of months. That’s when I started realising the areas to work on and made some technical changes in my batting around December, when I was called up for the New Zealand series just after the T20 World Cup.”

Gill signed off by terming Friday’s knock as his best innings in IPL till now. “It doesn’t matter when you make your way into the playing field. This is my best innings so far in the IPL.”

Quick 61

Veteran pacer Mohit Sharma, who took a quick 5/10 in the fag end of the match, said there was relief in the camp when he took out Suryakumar Yadav, who was leading Mumbai’s charge with a quick 61.

“I was lucky to have taken a quick five-for. Ball was skidding well even in the chase, looked like game will slip when SKY and Tilak got going. I thought I wouldn’t experiment when SKY’s batting as that’s what we studied ahead of the game.”

“We were okay being hit for six sixes off length balls as that’s more difficult. Match wasn’t over after SKY was out but there was relief and we were at comfort. The game wasn’t over till the last ball, we’ve learned in the past that it’s not over till then.”