For Sankay Manjrekar, Shubman Gill could have been a “bit more aggressive” when set. Ian Bishop wants him to add “another gear” to his batting. But the Gujarat Titans batter felt that he paced his innings exactly the way he was supposed to when his team played against the Lucknow SuperGiants on a challenging Pune surface on Wednesday.
For the spinners, there was a grip and turn. For the fast bowlers, there was something to work on, especially hitting hard lengths that tend to get two-paced. The Gujarat Titans captain, Hardik Pandya, may have been considering this as he elected to bat, and Gill realized quickly that he needed to bat through and long.
Gill batted through to make a 49-ball 63, having been dropped off the very first ball that he encountered in the opening over. The batter raised his half-century off 40 balls and produced a strike rate of 128.58, which is the highest in the innings among batters who faced at least 20 balls. They got some impetus as Titans posted 144 thanks to Rahul Tewatia’s cameo, which was a 16-ball 22 not out.
According to ESPNcricinfo’s Smart Stats metrics, Gill’s impact runs is 74, which was 11 more than what he finished with. Overall, his impact score was 80.36. Super Giants’ Avesh Khan, who had 67.57, was the next best,thanks to his spell that accounted for Hardik and Matthew Wade, which left the Titans spinning at 51 for 3 in the 10th over.
On ESPNcricinfo’s T20 Time:Out, Bishop said: “I’d like to see one more gear.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.”
However, Vikram Solanki, the Titans’ Director of Cricket, has a slightly different take.
“He was simply outstanding, wasn’t he? 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.”
He continued: “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],” Solanki added.
Gill took another 10 balls on 40 off 32 at the 12-over mark (with Titans on 76 for 3) to reach his half-century in the 17th over, He got through the stretch without searching for a single boundary-scoring option. Later, he explained why he did so.
“I didn’t expect the ball to seam as much as it did at the start. 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,” he said.
“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.”