Synopsis: In a battle between the present and future of Indian cricket, Shubman Gill again showed he is ready to take the baton forward from Virat Kohli.
“There’s potential and then there’s Gill. Go on and lead the next generation. God bless you,” This is what Virat Kohli wrote on his Instagram story when Shubman Gill notched up his maiden IPL hundred.
Gill had also admitted to the broadcasters that he has grown up watching Virat Kohli and called him his “idol.”
Right from the time Gill emerged as the breakout star from the 2018 U-19 World Cup, he has been seen as someone who will take the baton forward from Kohli. There is an uncanny similarity in the way Gill and Kohli play their shots. They can hit the ball pitched just outside off through extra cover and mid-wicket like a mirror image.
After returning to Mohali following his player of the series performance in the 2018 U-19 World Cup, he has told this reporter, “I want to emulate Virat Kohli. The way he handles the pressure, the way he plays the cover drives.” Shubman’s favourite pastime used to be watching Virat Kohli’s strokeplay on YouTube and trying to copy them in the nets.
On Sunday, the protege showed the master that he is indeed ready and this decade would be his.
While chasing the 198 against RCB, Gujarat Titans opener Gill showed another facet of his game that is quite similar to Virat’s. It looked like he has taken the notes from Virat’s chase book. The calculated risk, picking up boundaries, running between the wickets hard and his resolve not to throw it away and remain there till the end was just another attribute he has picked up from the resolute Kohli.
The only difference between Shubman and Kohli is that the former India captain at the age of 23 never had the power game. But Shubman has added six-hitting prowess in his armour, elevating his game to the other level.
Gill’s 104 runs off 52 balls spearheaded Titans to a comfortable six-wicket win over RCB. The loss ended RCB’s IPL campaign and did a favour to Mumbai Indians, who will now face Lucknow Super Giants in the Eliminator on Wednesday.
In Vijay Shankar, Gill found an able partner and the duo put on 123 runs for the second wicket to put Gujarat in control.
Kohli leads the way
After his sublime century against Sunrisers Hyderabad a couple of nights ago, Virat Kohli said he doesn’t give himself much credit as he has scored six tons in the IPL. Kohli notched up another century, seventh in the history of the IPL, the most in league history after he surpassed his former RCB teammate Chris Gayle.
Kohli cracked a brilliant unbeaten century (101 off 61 balls) and steered RCB to 197 for 5.
After a heavy run, thunderstorm and a delayed start, the Chinnaswamy crowd was treated with a Virat Kohli special. Right from the word go, Kohli looked like a man who is on a mission.
There’s no better sight in modern-day cricket than Kohli piercing the gaps with disdain. He teed off with an imperious cover drive off the first ball of the innings.
Kohli’s partner in crime, Faf du Plessis, the leading run-getter of the tournament, took on Mohammed Shami, the leading wicket-taker, and smashed him for four boundaries.
Kohli joined the party by hammering Yash Dayal for three boundaries in the next over. Virat was taking cue from former India coach Ravi Shastri’s advice “if you are hot, keep going, don’t let the tempo down.” Hardik Pandya’s wry smile after Kohli cut Rashid’s past point can tell you the story that Kohli was in for a big one.
Virat Kohli in Hyderabad had said that he loves batting with Faf du Plessis, as it is very similar to how he used to feel with AB de Villiers.
The RCB openers have put on almost 1000 runs together in this year’s IPL and Sunday evening was no different. RCB raced to 50 runs inside five overs.
The Afghan spin twins Rashid Khan and Noor Ahmad’s triple strike brought the Titans back in the game. In the span of thirteen balls, RCB lost Faf du Plessis, Glenn Maxwell, and Mahipal Lomror.
With wickets tumbling at one end, the undeterred Kohli pounced on every opportunity provided by the bowlers. Noor Ahmad, fresh from cleaning up Lomoror, bowled a tad fuller length, and Kohli slapped it with the carpet down the ground for a boundary and the teenager could only smile in response.
Bracewell, the sidekick
After Virat Kohli’s hundred against the Sunrisers, Michael Bracewell in a video posted by the RCB, said it was a treat to watch the batter playing in the full flow. He even called Faf du Plessis, Virat’s sidekick.
The Kiwi gave Kohli the support he needed in the middle overs. The Southpaw never let the ante drop. He kept hitting the boundaries and took a liking for Mohit Sharma.
The 47-run stand was broken by Mohammed Shami after he took a skier off his own bowling to dismiss Bracewell.
Delhi boys finish off in style
The quick wickets of Bracewell and Dinesh Karthik pegged RCB back. But Virat was joined by Anuj Rawat, his fellow Delhi boy. Rawat played a perfect second fiddle and performed his job to perfection. He kept rotating the strike and Kohli was the aggressor of the two.
Kohli, whose hundred included his trademark cover-driven boundaries, whipped Yash Dayal for a six over mid-wicket and clipped a couple of fours off Shami’s bowling.
Once Kohli completed his century, he passed on the strike to Rawat, who finished the innings with a six and a four. Kohli and Rawat looted 64 runs in the last 34 balls.