After electing to bat, Gujarat Titans were 24/2 in the fifth over, having lost Wriddhiman Saha and Matthew Wade in rapid succession. Quinton de Kock and KL Rahul had returned to the hut, and Lucknow Super Giants were also 24/2 in the fifth over of the chase. And, as both LSG bowling coach Andy Bichel and GT Director of Cricket Vikram Solanki noted out at the press conference, it was a challenging surface to bat on.

The pacers got a lot of support from the LSG pacers, who kept it short and varied the tempo to worry the Titans’ top order. Mohammed Shami, too, avoided overcrowding the field and did not allow the LSG openers to break free, resulting in a build-up of pressure that led to wickets.

Shubman Gill’s 49-ball 63 not out proved to be a crucial contribution, paving the path for the Titans to become the first club to qualify for the playoffs. While the batsmen around him, particularly the top of the order, struggled to adjust to the surface at the MCA stadium in Pune, Gill kept his innings on track.

Gill played the cut and the pull with a lot of confidence after being reprieved twice early in the innings. He managed three fours within the powerplay. The Titans had a boundary drought, but Gill quickly realised it wasn’t a pitch that would produce frequent fence hits. Gill hit a four off the third delivery of the fifth over, and the next one didn’t come until the 10th over, when the opener sent an Avesh Khan delivery over the backward point fielder to the boundary. In an effort to infuse some energy into the innings, he even played a switch sweep for a four off Krunal Pandya in the 11th over.