Gill’s sensational 129 off 60 balls took Gujarat to a mammoth 233/3, after which Mohit Sharma (5/10) and Rashid Khan (2/33) triggered a collapse that saw MI getting bowled out for 171 after being 155/4 at one stage.
Gill decorated his majestic century with ten sixes and seven fours while taking the Mumbai bowlers to the cleaners. It is also the third century of the ongoing season for Gill, who leads the run-scoring charts with 851 runs in 16 matches.
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 after that at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, including getting his century in 49 balls.
“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,” said Hardik after the match ended.
“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.”
In reply, Tilak Varma’s 14-ball 43 and Suryakumar Yadav’s quick 61 kept Mumbai afloat. But Rashid castling Varma proved to be one of the turning points, after which Mohit Sharma took a five-wicket haul in just 2.2 overs, which included the all-important wicket of Suryakumar.
“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 in an effort to defend their crown.
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,” said Hardik.
(With agency inputs)