AHMEDABAD: This is a mauling the Kiwis won't forget for a long time.
Relishing the best batting wicket by far of this T20I series, Gill unleashing a flurry of sublime strokes on both sides of the wicket tore into the hapless New Zealanders once again, cracking a magnificent, unconquered 126, which took him just 63 balls, and contained 12 eye-catching fours and seven big sixes on Wednesday night in the third and deciding T20I at a throbbing Narendra Modi Stadium.
Powered by Gill's maiden T20I hundred, India marched to 234 for 4 in 20 overs – their biggest total against New Zealand in T20Is, and fifth-biggest overall, after choosing to bat first. Fittingly, the young turk's first century in T20Is came on his IPL home ground, where he plays for the Gujarat Titans.
Hit by 'Gill storm,' the clearly shell-shocked Kiwis, looking in a hurry to catch the return flight back home, then folded up for a sorry-looking 66 in 12. 1 overs-their third-lowest score in T20Is. Led by skipper Hardik Pandya (4-16), Arshdeep Singh (2-16), Umran Malik (2-9) and Shivam Mavi (2-12), India came out all guns blazing, blasting New Zealand off the park in no time. Not to be forgotten were a couple of blinders by Suryakumar Yadav at first slip.
Putting out a clinical, dominating show which saw them clinch the T20I series against the Black Caps 2-1, India raced away to a mind-boggling 168-r un win on the night the biggest victory margin in T20Is between two full member teams.
There's a lovely 'ritual' that Gill, the new superstar of Indian batting, follows every time he hits a hundred. He takes off his helmet, swings it with his hand, and lets out a roar which reverberates through the stadium, perhaps even touching the roof of the biggest stand. The wild celebration, the spreading of the hands like an eagle, is concluded with a respectful bow towards all, just like an artist would acknowledge the applause to his latest masterpiece!
While Gill was the 'superhero' of India's batting, Rahul Tripathi (44, 22b, 4x4, 3x6), Suryakumar Yadav (24, 13b, 1x4, 2x6) and then skipper Hardik Pandya (30, 17b, 4x4, 1x6) all played the support act in perfect fashion.
Gill's sublime, breathtaking strokes left close to a lakh spectators at this stadium spell bound. Gill played regal drives through the covers and ferocious pulls and pick up shots to mid-wicket and lofted drives down the ground.