Gems of strokes from Shubman Gill’s 129 off 60: Slice, flick, swat and more

Through the course of his third century of the IPL season, Shubman Gill put up a grand exhibition of his batting. In a knock that contained 10 sixes and seven boundaries, some of Gill’s strokes showed why his time in Indian cricket has well and truly arrived. Be it his short-arm jab or flick or improvising with a swat, Gill has shots outside the textbook too. Here is a recap of the few he played en route 60 ball-129.

Slice: 4
5.3 ovs, bowler: Jordan, Gill 40

On a night where his six-hitting stood out, this boundary of Jordan was a Gill special. The pacer delivered a back-of-a-length delivery that was not going to create any sort of trouble for the 23-year-old. Having flicked a casual six off the previous ball, Gill didn’t try to do anything extraordinary rather he just sliced it. It is becoming his trademark shot, where with minimum foot movement he meets the ball right in front of his eyes, and slices it with the full face of the bat, making it for a crisp sound.

Flick: 6
11.1 ovs, bowler Madhwal, Gill 59 off 37

There was something disdainful about this six, which looked all too casual as Gill flicked his wrists. Madhwal, who was fresh from figures of 5/5 in the previous game, erred in his line just a fraction. But that was enough for Gill to free his arms. Standing in a leg-stump guard, Gill picked up the length very early and just moved a bit towards the off — to be in a position to hit where he intended to. As the ball angled into him, he just flicked it over the deep square leg. It went 83 metres.

More wrist: 6,
11.4, bowler: Madhwal, Gill 72 off 40

By now, Gill was in full flow. He was in full control of not just the situation and was making the bowler bowl in areas he wanted to. Having conceded two sixes already Madhwal went full in the hope it would skid off the surface. Instead, it just sat perfectly, inviting Gill to have a go. Having already played a couple of flicks behind square, this time Gill chose to deposit over mid-wicket with the wrists generating all the power.

Down the track: 6
12.1, bowler: Chawla, Gill 79 off 42

The leg-spinner has been having a very good season on his return, largely down to the lengths he has been operating on. When Chawla lands it on the spot where the batsman is caught in two minds about whether to go forward or not, he looks in full control. As he sent down one with a bit more air in the hope that Gill would play it from the crease, Gill responded by quickly using his feet so that the ball landed perfectly in his slot. And Gill, in one neat flow, lofted it straight over the bowler’s head, as Chawla gave a resigned expression. He would repeat the same shot three balls later, this time the ball travelling 106 metres over long-on.

Swat: 6
14.5, bowler:Green, Gill 110 off 51

This was improvisation at its best. Unlike some of the other batsmen of his time, Gill doesn’t fancy the scoops. But, like Rohit Sharma does when he is in full flow, he can improvise at will, creating one length and picking pockets that you least expect him to. This was one such shot, where Green, responding to a six and boundary of the previous two deliveries, sent down a short-ball as Gill ran down the wicket. For the first time in the night, Gill was not in a position to execute a shot he intended to as Green cramped him for room. So what does Gill do? Just swat it for six over mid-wicket with both his feet in the air when the ball meets the bat.

Open bat face: 4
15.1, bowler: Jordan, Gill 117 off 53

With Gill unstoppable, Rohit Sharma went for Jordan again, asking him to bowl full on the fifth-stump line – the pacer’s strongest suit. Jordan ended up missing just by a margin as it turned into a low full-toss that was always going to be hard to hit. Having put up an exhibition thus far, Gill was not done. He got down on his knee and brought out that slice shot as he opened the face of the bat. The fielder at deep cover stood no chance as Jordan looked in disbelief and so did the rest watching Gill on the night.

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