After reaching the final of IPL 2023 with a 62-run win over Mumbai Indians in Qualifier 2, Gujarat Titans skipper Hardik Pandya said Shubman Gill's sensational 129 off 60 balls is one of the finest knocks he has ever witnessed in a T20 game.
Gill slammed a majestic 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, which is also his third century of the ongoing season.
A significant moment in Friday's match was Gill being dropped by Tim David in the last over of the powerplay when on 30 off 19 balls. It proved to be a very costly drop as he made 99 runs off 40 balls post that, including getting his century in 49 balls at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
"The clarity this year he has. The confidence which he is carrying is amazing. The innings which I saw (in the game) was one of the finest innings I have seen in a T20 game. At no point of time he looked rushed, at no point he looked like he was not in control."
"It looked as if someone was throwing down the balls and he was just hitting. He is a superstar and is going to do big things to franchise cricket and Indian cricket," said Hardik after the match ended.
In reply, Tilak Varma's 14-ball 43 and Suryakumar Yadav's quick 61 kept Mumbai afloat. But Rashid Khan castling Varma and taking two more scalps meant Mumbai were bowled out for 171 in 18.2 overs.
"When things are not going the way I like, he (Rashid) is someone who comes and changes momentum and makes sure we keep getting wickets. That's the beauty. We have spoken enough about Rashid but sometimes I am short of words for what he does," added Hardik.
Gujarat will now take on Chennai Super Kings in the title clash at Ahmedabad on Sunday, with a bright chance of defending their title. Hardik expressed gratitude for his team-mates for putting in the effort every day for entering the finals in the second successive year of participating in the competition.
"My job is simple in the team – I make sure that the boys are in the right frame of mind and it starts from me. If I lead with example in my energy, it feeds off to the boys and that is something I look forward to. Every individual takes ownership."
"A lot of hard work has gone behind it. Irrelevant of the result, if we put our 100% and try our level best, the knockouts are fun, it can go here or there," he concluded.20230527-112403