If Shubman Gill’s form has been a topic of concern over the last few weeks with his struggle evident from his scores in West Indies and in the opener against Pakistan in the 2023 Asia Cup, he put the discussion to rest with a stunning knock of an unbeaten 67 against Nepal in India’s do-or-die group-stage match. And with the knock, which while confirming India’s qualification in the Super Four stage of the continental event, also took him closer to Babar Azam in the ICC ODI rankings list released on Wednesday.
In the rain-inflicted match, where the target of 231 set by Nepal was reduced to 145 in 23 overs, Gill combined to captain Rohit Sharma in supreme fashion to send India into the second round of the Asia Cup. They stitched an unbeaten partnership of 147 runs which proved enough to wrap up the chase with 17 balls to spare. Rohit remained not out for 74 which Gill scored 67 off 62.
The knock helped Gill gain a career-high rating of 750 rating points in the ICC ODI rankings and take the third-place on the list with less than one month out from the start of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in India. Gill’s move on the rankings chart does puts pressure on table-topper Babar Azam, who although holds a significant lead with 882 points gained from his record knock of 151 runs last week against Nepal in the Asia Cup opener before rain denied Pakistan the opportunity to bat in the match against India on Saturday.
Gill now stands 27 points away from South Africa’s Rassie van der Dussen, who is in the second spot and 182 points away from Babar, with India slated to next face arch-rivals Pakistan in the first match in Super Four on September 9 in Colombo. The Pakistan skipper could however look to consolidate his lead with a performance against Bangladesh in their first Super Four game on Wednesday at home.
Another Indian player making an inroad is Ishan Kishan, who made the most of a rare opportunity presented to him during the group-stage match against Pakistan. With the top-order blown away, Ishan, who was sent to bat at No. 5 for the first time in his career, scored a stunning knock of 82. Following the valiant effort, Ishan was rewarded with a new career-best mark of 624 rating points and a 12-place rise to 24th on the updated list for ODI batters.