Ahmedabad, Feb 1 (PTI) Shubman Gill smashed a whirlwind unbeaten century, his maiden ton in the shortest format, to power India to an imposing 234 for four against New Zealand in the series-deciding third T20 International here on Wednesday.
Gill continued his fine form and showcased his array of shots, hitting the New Zealand bowlers to all parts of the Narendra Modi Stadium to score 126 not out off just 63 balls balls with the help of 12 fours and seven sixes.
But the start was far from rosy for India after electing to bat as Mitchell Santner made a master-stroke decision by handing Michael Bracewell the second over and the off-spinner reposed his captain's faith by removing an out-of-form Ishan Kishan, who was adjudged LBW with the second ball of the over.
In-form Gill struck two boundaries off Lockie Ferguson in the next over.
Gill was at his ominous best, be it pick up hits, drives or pulls to continue his onslaught.
He hit Blair Tickner for three fours in the fifth over as India reached 44 for 1.
Young Rahul Tripathi (44 off 22), who has immense potential but yet to fire in the series, then struck Ferguson for a boundary and a six in consecutive balls to keep up the tempo.
Tripathi then pulled Santner over short-fine leg before coming down and lofting the left-arm spinner for a straight six.
Tripathi showed his attacking class and dispatched Ish Sodhi over extra cover for his third six of the innings but perished in the next ball in search of one too many, holing out at deep square leg to Ferguson.
Gill reached his maiden T20I fifty off 35 balls with a single off Santner.
While Gill held one end, Suryakumar Yadav (24 off 13) showed glimpses of his class but fell in the 13th over, brilliantly caught by Bracewell at mid-off as the batter mistimed his shot.
Gill brought up his century with a four over the mid-off fielder off the bowling of Ferguson in the first ball of the 18th over.
He broke free and clobbered Ferguson over mid-wicket for a huge six in the next ball.
It was mayhem as skipper Hardik Pandya (30 off 17) too went ballistic.
But it was Gill who stole the show as he continued with his attacking shots after the ton, finding the boundaries at will as New Zealand attack looked listless.