CSK Performed a ‘Very Special Innings’
By Tanushka Gain
on Mon Sep 20 2021
One of the things IPL teams are proud of is giving opportunities to the next big player. Ruturaj Gaikwad was the next big player for CSK last year. Then everything went wrong for him. Gaikwad himself came down with Covid-19, and when he came back, he had a poor start: scores of 0, 5 and 0 in his first three matches.
If there’s one team you want to spoil the start of, it’s CSK. His management relies on his scouting and his own judgment to not make hasty decisions. Gaikwad said, “When Mahi bhai [MS Dhoni] is around. And everyone in the CSK management, once they support you. They don’t even think of making you think of anything.” “Just to be positive. Always in a good spirit, in a good mind. Obviously helps a lot.”
As the season ended, Gaikwad scored three consecutive half-centuries. But at a strike rate between 126 and 136. Two of them came in fairly easy chases, and Ravindra Jadeja scored 31 off 11 balls to help them in the third. Prior to this match, he had played only five innings of 30 or more at 150-plus pace.
This season, however, Gaikwad has kicked higher. But his role in the side is one that allows others around him to score at higher strike rates. He is asked to take the lead only when he reaches the second half of the innings.
In this match, against rivals Mumbai Indians, who led them 6-1 in the recent past. This is all Gaikwad will need to do: Build his side after a collapse, make sure he’s there at the end. And then take the lead in the final a few overs. The hitting was clean. And that included Jasprit Bumrah getting runs apart from sending Trent Boult in his worst over in T20 cricket. When it’s off, and when it’s a player you backed early on, it gives management special satisfaction.
CSK coach Stephen Fleming said: “We’ve been keeping a big eye on him for some time now.” “Last time we were here too we took him back. Maybe the shape he was in. Judging by the size he was in, he was from covid. But how much we respect and respect his ability.
“Today’s innings was very special. It’s okay to play an innings in a high-scoring game and dominate. But it’s even more special when you’re the one getting the score to give your team a chance. Gone is his work, the ability to absorb the pressure and then accelerate till the end, it was really in his hands that we were able to create any kind of pressure. It was really a remarkable innings.”
CSK’s Gaikwad scored 88 runs on the board. But according to Smart Stats, that refers to an attempt with a match position. Due to the phase of the innings and the kind of bowling he faced, Gaikwad’s innings was equal to 114.14.
“Obviously one of my top innings so far because of the pressure we were under,” Gaikwad said. “The opening wicket. All the senior batsmen came back to the pavilion. I had to grind it, bat 10-12 overs, give myself time, just build a partnership, push whatever you could: 120-130 Then gradually, 140 was possible, then 150 became possible. I think it was just a matter of time on the wicket.”
CSK’s faith in Gaikwad is paying off. But it is not a miracle. He has made the necessary changes mainly to take his batting deeper – especially during the middle overs to allow him to play faster, which in turn allows Gaikwad to be the anchor for him. It is not everyday that Gaikwad would need to undertake such rescue operations, but the Super Kings will be happy to know that they have that extra gear.