Virat Kohli being greeted by Gujarat Titans player Shubman Gill | PTI
Mumbai: Gujarat Titans opener Shubman Gill hit a superb century to outdo Virat Kohli’s second successive ton as Royal Challengers Bangalore were eliminated from the Indian Premier League on Sunday.
Bangalore had to win the final IPL game in the league stage to claim the last available playoff spot, but Gill followed his century against Sunrisers Hyderabad with an unbeaten 104 off 52 balls as Gujarat reached 198-4 with five balls to spare for a six-wicket win.
Kohli with 101 not out — his record seventh century in the IPL — had earlier anchored Bangalore to 197-5 but Gill powered Gujarat’s run chase by hitting eight sixes and five fours.
“It’s all about getting a start and converting it into a big one,” Gill said. “Thankfully it’s working out for me in the business end (of the tournament). You have to keep applying yourself, that’s important.”
Bangalore’s loss meant Mumbai sealed the final playoff spot after all-rounder Cameron Green had cracked a belligerent unbeaten century off 47 balls in Mumbai’s all-important eight-wicket win against Hyderabad earlier Sunday.
Gujarat topped the league with 20 points and will take on second-place Chennai Super Kings in the first playoff on Tuesday with the winner advancing directly to next Sunday’s final.
Mumbai will meet third-place Lucknow Super Giants in the second playoff game on Wednesday. The loser of the first playoff will get another chance for a place in the final when it takes on the winner of the second playoff on Friday.
Gill defied the data favoring teams batting first and winning at Bangalore in the recent past with his superb stroke play and he combined well with impact player Vijay Shankar, who scored 53 off 35 balls.
Gill and Shankar put on a match-winning 123 runs for the second wicket. Gill raised the victory and also completed his second successive century with a straight six off Wayne Parnell in the final over.
Bangalore finished sixth in the standings with 14 points, behind Rajasthan Royals also on 14 points but with a better net run-rate.
After the start was delayed by nearly an hour because of rain, Kohli and captain Faf du Plessis combined in a 67-run opening stand off 43 balls.
But Gujarat spinner Noor Ahmad (2-39) and Rashid Khan (1-24) squeezed the runs in the middle overs as Kohli raised his half century off 35 balls.
Kohli upped the scoring rate in the death overs with his superb drives on both sides of the wicket and became the first batter in IPL history to score seven centuries.
Kohli followed his century against Hyderabad three days ago when he scooped Mohit Sharma (0-54) to long on in the final over for a single to raise his hundred off 60 balls only to see Gill’s brilliance take the win away from his team.
MUMBAI THUMPS HYDERABAD
All-rounder Green finally scored big in the most important game for Mumbai.
Green had struggled with only two half centuries in the previous 13 games but finally struck form with 100 not out as he anchored Mumbai to 201-2 with two overs to spare.
“We came with the mindset to win and not worry what happens elsewhere,” Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma said. “Even if we don’t go through, we got ourselves to blame. If we do, (the) boys get credit.”
Asked to bat first, Hyderabad couldn’t capitalize on a blistering start of 140 between the opening pair of Mayank Agarwal (83) and Vivrant Sharma (69) before finishing on 200-5.
Last-place Hyderabad finished with four wins and 10 defeats.
Fast bowler Akash Madhwal put on the brakes with 4-37 in the latter half of the innings as he dismissed Sharma off a mistimed pull and then found the edge of Agarwal’s bat before knocking back the stumps of Heinrich Klaasen and Harry Brook.
Madhwal’s brilliant bowling helped Mumbai pull back nicely in the death overs. It conceded only 43 runs in the last five overs.
Green struck eight sixes and eight fours in a dominant 128-run stand with Sharma, who made 56 off 37 balls after getting dropped twice.
Both batters were aggressive against impact player Kartik Tyagi and pacer Umran Malik as the two bowlers conceded 82 runs off 5.5 overs between them. Malik was wayward in his line and length while Tyagi was also off the mark, giving plenty of opportunities to batters to go for big shots as Mumbai motored to victory.
“Not the campaign we hoped for,” Hyderabad skipper Aiden Markram said. “Lot of learnings along the way.” AP