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Match Analysis

Was Shubman Gill's conservative approach justified?

Despite a match-winning fifty, both Sanjay Manjrekar and Ian Bishop feel the batter could have been more aggressive

Shashank Kishore
Shashank Kishore
It was tough going for Shubman Gill, but he did eventually get to his half-century  •  BCCI

It was tough going for Shubman Gill, but he did eventually get to his half-century  •  BCCI

Ian Bishop wants him to add "another gear" to his batting. Sanjay Manjrekar felt he could have been a "bit more aggressive" when set, especially as he neared a half-century. Shubman Gill, however, felt he paced his innings exactly the way he had to on a challenging Pune surface on Wednesday against Lucknow Super Giants.
There was grip and turn for the spinners, and there was something for the fast bowlers to work with, especially because it tended to get two-paced when they hit hard lengths. Hardik Pandya, the Gujarat Titans captain, may have been influenced by this as he elected to bat, and Gill "quickly realised" the need to bat through and bat long.
Having been dropped off the very first ball he faced in the opening over, Gill batted through to make a 49-ball 63. He raised his half-century off 40 balls, and ended up with a strike rate of 128.58, the highest in the innings among batters who faced at least 20 balls. Rahul Tewatia's cameo, a 16-ball 22 not out, gave them some impetus as Titans posted 144.
ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats metrics pegged Gill's impact runs as 74, meaning it was worth 11 more than what he finished with. His impact score overall stood at 80.36. The next best was Super Giants' Avesh Khan, who had 67.57, courtesy his spell that accounted for the Matthew Wade and Hardik that left Titans reeling at 51 for 3 in the 10th over.
"I'd like to see one more gear," Bishop noted on ESPNcricinfo's T20 Time:Out. "The traditional anchor doesn't sit well with me. It's just a personal thing, and I could be totally wrong. The guys I think anchor an innings well are Jos Buttler, below that a KL Rahul…guys who can go at maybe 120-125 and then tee off towards the back end and end with something over 140, maybe even 150. I don't like a traditional guy batting through the innings, run-a-ball or just over a run-a-ball. I'm defining that for me. I'd like to see Shubman Gill have another gear to go to."
Vikram Solanki, the Titans' Director of Cricket, looked at it slightly differently. "He was simply outstanding, wasn't he?", he said. "He's a quality batsman, quality technician. He's got a wonderful temperament. It's no wonder that he's so highly regarded in Indian cricket. I thought he was exemplary with his innings today. I thought he assessed the pitch very well, I thought he batted accordingly.
"The traditional anchor doesn't sit well with me. It's just a personal thing, and I could be totally wrong."
Ian Bishop
"I know he would've helped every other batter who went out to bat. It was quite difficult, and it was very evident with the scores. Our assessment of the pitch was exactly that, it was a tough pitch, and our batting would center around somebody taking responsibility around those situations, Shubman did exactly that today and showed what a high-quality player he is.
"I think halfway, we knew that was a very competitive score. It was apparent that it wasn't the easiest wicket to score on, it was difficult. Only due to Shubman's knock, and later Rahul Tewatia who played a brilliant knock, we got to a competitive total. We took confidence from the fact that it was difficult for Lucknow to score. Our attack has been able to take wickets, so we know if we bowl like we have in the past, we'd make it difficult for them. We just felt we could put them under pressure [with the total they had]."
On 40 off 32 at the 12-over mark with Titans on 76 for 3, Gill took another 10 balls to reach his half-century in the 17th over, having got through the stretch without looking for a single boundary-scoring option. Gill later explained his rationale behind the approach.
"I didn't expect the ball to seam as much as it did at the start," he said. "It was nipping around. After that, I didn't expect the spinners to have a bit of turn. One thing I felt was they didn't bowl up as much. If they would've bowled a bit up, it would've been difficult. Krunal [Pandya] was keeping it a little short and being conservative. It was easy for us to maneuver the ball around, we kept on taking singles which was easy on this wicket.
"It's quite pleasing when you're there till the end and finish off matches for the team. That's exactly the chat I had with Gary [before the game].I told him I want to finish at least three-four matches for the team."

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo