Gujarat Titans captain Hardik Pandya said his team “rightly deserves” a place in the Indian Premier League play-offs after a convincing 34-run win over Sunrisers Hyderebad here on Monday.
Shubman Gill struck 101 from just 58 balls, his first IPL century, to propel GT to 188 for nine despite a late comeback from SRH’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar (5/30).
In response, SRH were held to 154 for nine, as GT became the first team to enter the play-offs this season.
“Very proud of the boys, two out of two (reaching the play-offs twice in a row). Guys raised their hands and in challenging situations and we rightfully deserve the playoff spot,” Hardik said in the postgame presentation.
“There will be expectations and for me it was important to focus within the group. We checked a lot of good boxes, we made a lot of mistakes, but we were always there in the game and we tried to stay consistent,” he added.
After Gill and Sai Sudharsan (47 off 36 balls) laid the foundation for a solid total with their partnership of 147 runs for the second wicket, which was however wasted by the other batsmen, players like mohamed shami (4/21) and Mohit Sharma (4/28) shone with the ball to end SRH’s campaign.
Impressed with his effort, Hardik called himself a bowler’s captain.
“Bowlers are very close to my heart. Sometimes the batsmen get a lot of credit, for me I will always captain a bowler and make sure they get the credit they deserve,” Hardik said.
Looking back on his IPL debut against SRH, man of the match Gill said it has come full circle for him.
“My IPL debut was against SRH, now I have my IPL hundred against them. quite pleased. It has come full circle. Hopefully I’ll get more hundreds this season,” Gill said.
“I’m not the type of person who thinks too much about my last entries. The focus is on what is needed at this time. The most satisfying moment was beating Abhishek (Sharma) for a six because he is my childhood friend”. Disregarding a play-off spot, SRH captain Aiden Markram said his team will proudly play in the remaining two games.
“A lot of pride for us to play. We will try to give some chances if we are allowed. It will be good to end the tournament in good spirits, but unfortunately we have not been good enough in the tournament this year,” said Markram.
“When a team is one down at the back, it can go either way. It was important to break the association and Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar) did it for us. It has been exceptional for us and Nattu (T Natarajan) as well.”