Match Analysis

Gill shows Ahmedabad is his place and 2023 is his year

On the day, he made batting look ridiculously easy and brought up his sixth century of the year

Sidharth Monga
Sidharth Monga
On a pitch that others managed 219 runs off 182 legal deliveries for the loss of 17 wickets - an average of 13 and a strike-rate of 120, Shubman Gill scored 101 off just 58 balls. Eight of Gill's team-mates failed to reach double figures. Clearly Gill rose above the conditions while scoring his maiden IPL hundred.
What's more remarkable is he hit only one six even though he got to his fifty in just 22 balls. It is one of less than a handful of T20 fifties that are quick and without a single six. This is one of only three IPL hundreds with one or fewer sixes, and one of 18 in all T20 cricket. Only three of them have been quicker.
Even the fours that Gill hit were bereft of risk. This innings featured the second-highest percentage of in-control runs for an IPL hundred, behind only KL Rahul's 103 not out against Mumbai Indians last year.
This was then a rare innings, but it is not hard to see why. The match was being played on a pitch that hasn't been used in this IPL. Both sides expected, and extracted, movement with the new ball. In fact, Sunrisers Hyderabad began with two slips in place, and Gujarat Titans did the same a few balls into their bowling innings.
Except that SRH came up against one of the best all-format batters who could take a toll of the Test-match lengths they were trying to bowl. Also, as Aiden Markram said, the ball stopped swinging for them earlier than expected, and the attacking fields and lengths allowed Gill to find gaps for fours. Only one of the 13 fours by Gill was hit over the infield. Another one was hit straight to a fielder who misfielded. The remaining 11 he put in gaps.
So you put in a batter adept at finding gaps, show him those gaps by putting fielders in attacking positions, and then also give him loose balls. What else do you expect? You rarely see a batter tucking a ball in front of square on the leg side and taking four for it in T20s. That is a sight reserved for Test cricket. That's because sides are good at defending where they are bowling in T20s. In this match, you saw it with Gill against more than one bowler precisely because they didn't quite bowl to their fields.
A high control percentage and the ability to hit the ball where fielders aren't have set Gill apart in most cricket. That's the hallmark of all excellent batters. However, perhaps there was a small something lacking in the second half of the knock, which turned out to be inconsequential in this match but won't always be. Once the bowlers got it right and started bowling to their fields, Gill took no risks. His last 19 balls at the wicket brought just 24 runs.
It's possible Titans asked others to hit out while Gill set up to play through the innings, but in the end they did fall 20-30 short of what they looked good for. Perhaps it is Gill's fault that he made it look so ridiculously easy in the early going that people expected too much. Perhaps it is Gill's fault that he put too high a price on his wicket when the bowlers began to bowl to their fields.
It doesn't matter at the moment on a night when Gill brought up his sixth century of the year - five in international cricket, one in the IPL. Three of those have come in Ahmedabad where Titans are guaranteed a match after ensuring a top-two finish on the table. Ahmedabad is Gill's place, 2023 is Gill's time; little else seems to matter right now.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo