International Cricket

IPL 2024 – GT vs Mumbai – Shubman Gill praises his ‘outstanding’ bowlers

Shubman Gill, in his first game as Gujarat Titans captain, was thrilled by how his bowlers pulled off a heist against Mumbai Indians, led by his former skipper Hardik Pandya. Mumbai Indians needed only 48 runs off the last six overs with seven wickets in hand, and heavy dew hindering the bowlers, but they fell six runs short.

“I think the way the boys held up their nerves in the death overs, especially with the dew coming in, the way we bowled was outstanding,” Gill said after the match. “There was a lot of dew. The way our spinners bowled, Rashid [Khan] and Sai [Kishore], they made sure we were in the game always. In the end it was all about putting on the pressure and holding our nerves.”

Left-arm spinner R Sai Kishore had not been a regular starter for Titans in their first two seasons: only five games in 2022 and none in 2023. Picked for their season opener in 2024, he conceded only 24 runs in four overs despite dew making the ball hard to grip, and also pinned Rohit Sharma lbw for 43 off 29 balls. Rashid didn’t take a wicket but went for only 23 in his four overs and it was towards the end of his spell that Mumbai began to flounder.

There was an unusual incident in Rashid’s final over, the 17th of the chase. Tim David, who at No. 6 had been promoted ahead of Hardik Pandya, lofted Rashid towards the deep midwicket boundary. He and Tilak Varma could have run two if they pushed hard, but they settled for a single to bring the left-handed Tilak on strike. Tilak then hit the next ball to deep midwicket but refused the single. Mumbai at this stage needed 38 off 21 balls and the pressure only increased after Rashid conceded only three runs in the 17th over.

“Not really,” was Hardik’s response when he was asked if there was a plan to keep David away from Rashid. “I think Tilak felt that was a better idea at that point of time. I completely back him, not an issue, 13 games to go.”

Mohit Sharma, who was the second highest wicket-taker last season but had only played three competitive matches since then, followed up by dismissing David in the 18th over to return figures of 2 for 32. “He’s [Mohit] has been a revelation ever since he has come, last year as well the way he bowled, hopefully he will continue his form and give us many good matches like this,” Gill said. “I thought 170 was a good score but we definitely left 10-15 out there but that happens. They were also going well, and they were above par, but it became hard to hit the old ball and the wicket became a bit slow.”

Hardik now knows what it’s like to play Titans in Ahmedabad after spending two seasons making their home ground a stronghold. It was Mumbai’s third defeat in three games at the venue. “Obviously we backed ourselves to chase those 42 runs but it was one of those days I think when we see the score is quite less compared to what it could have been in five overs … we lost a little bit of momentum there,” Hardik said. “Feels good to be back, this is a stadium where you can enjoy and feel the atmosphere, its quite lively, the crowd was full and they got a good game as well.”

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