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IPL 2020: Ruturaj shows the ‘spark’ as CSK dominate RCB

IPL 2020: After winning the toss and opting to bat, Virat Kohli struck a fifty and guided RCB to 145/6, but the total proved not enough in front of a resolute Gaikwad, who, as an opener, saw CSK through.

Updated: Oct 25, 2020, 23:44 IST

By Rajesh Pansare, Hindustan Times Mumbai

IPL 2020 RCB vs CSK: Ruturaj Gaikwad connects a crisp drive. (IPL/twitter)

It’s not easy when your skipper pans you in public for not showing enough “spark”. Ask Ruturaj Gaikwad. The 23-year-old from Pune was among the youngsters on the Chennai Super Kings roster who were criticised by MS Dhoni the previous week. “Maybe we didn’t see as much spark from some of our youngsters. Maybe, going forward, we bring them in and they play without pressure,” Dhoni had said.

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On Sunday, against the high-flying Royal Challengers Bangalore, Gaikwad did what Dhoni expects from the youngsters. He trotted out with confidence—thanks to his efforts during fielding which included two catches—played without pressure and finished the innings off with a six to play a starring role in CSK’s eight-wicket IPL win over RCB in Dubai. It mathematically keeps them in the hunt for a play-off spot though the chances look slim.

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Gaikwad was expected to make it to the starting XI—after sitting out the last season—especially with Suresh Raina returning home for personal reasons but he, alongwith pacer Deepak Chahar, tested positive for Covid-19 before IPL started and took longer to recover.

Lack of practice coupled with nerves in early games saw him dismissed for a golden duck against Rajasthan Royals on debut. In the next innings against Delhi Capitals he was run out after a mix-up with Faf du Plessis. That resulted in being benched before returning against Mumbai Indians in the last match where the guile of Trent Boult was too much for him as he perished for another duck.

Against RCB he was watchful, and played some crisp shots that even earned praise from Sunil Gavaskar, doing TV commentary. That approach yielded him results as he stayed unbeaten on 65 off 51 balls, laced with three sixes and four fours. On the way, he was involved in useful partnerships, starting with a 46-run opening wicket stand with Du Plessis (25), then a 67-run stand with Ambati Rayudu (39), which virtually sealed the match for CSK. He finally took the team home with skipper Dhoni (19*).

While the batsmen chased down the target, CSK bowlers did well to restrict RCB to 145 for six. They finally found conditions tailor-made for them, similar to what they are used to in Chennai. From seamers to pacers, they never offered any pace for batsmen to capitalise on, bowled stump-to-stump and made RCB grind for runs.

Even the likes of Virat Kohli (50) and AB de Villiers (39) found it hard to hit boundaries and when they tried to press on in the death overs, they only ended up holing out to the deep.

Dhoni called it a perfect game, Kohli was critical of his bowlers’ execution but the day below to Gaikwad, one of the CSK youngsters who finally showed some “spark”.


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