Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni heaped rich praise on Ruturaj Gaikwad after the young opener showed a lot of spark during his match-winning knock of 72 from 53 balls that dented Kolkata Knight Riders’ play-off hopes in Dubai on Thursday. Dhoni said Ruturaj is one of the most exciting talents going around, let alone in the CSK camp.
MS Dhoni’s comments come weeks after he created a furore by saying CSK found it difficult to see ‘spark’ in youngsters. However, the 3-time champions, who were the first time to exit the play-offs race at IPL 2020, had the license to try out their youngsters as they had nothing to lose.
Ruturaj Gaikwad, who was extended isolation period after he contracted the novel coronavirus following his arrival in the UAE, struggled in his first 3 knocks wherein he was out for a duck, twice. However, he grabbed the opportunity that came his way on Sunday with a match-winning fifty.
The 23-year-old Gaikwad continued from where he left as he led CSK’s chase of 173 against KKR in Dubai. Gaikwad earned rich praise from the likes of Sunil Gavaskar and Kumar Sangakkara who were on commentary duties as he effortlessly hit the KKR bowlers. He did not allow the two mystery spinners in Varun Chakravarthy and Sunil Narine to settle but was particularly severe against KKR pacer. He hit the big ones with so much grace and never let the asking rate creep up as long as he was out in the middle.
Gaikwad was not able to be there till the end, unlike their win over RCB, but Ravindra Jadeja walked in and hit an 11-ball 31 to take the team past the finish line in a last-ball thriller after CSK looked like they had lost their way.
‘Ruturaj will remember this season’
“We want to give games to people who haven’t played and we need them to grab those opportunities. Ruturaj we’d seen him in the nets, but then he got Covid positive and took 20 days. Unfortunate but he’ll remember this season. He’s one of the most talented players going around. What makes it difficult is he’s not somebody who speaks a lot!
“So sometimes it becomes difficult for the management to gauge a player. Once he started going in the innings, you could see that he was hitting the ball the way he wants to and he was planning. When we made him play the first game, he got out, stepped out. It becomes difficult to tell whether it was the pressure that made him step out or whether that’s his natural game. One ball isn’t enough,” MS Dhoni said.
Ravindra Jadeja has been amazing this season: MS Dhoni
CSK’s comfortable 6-wicket win meant KKR’s play-off hopes took a hit. KKR are now tied on points with 4th-placed Kings XI Punjab but KL Rahul’s men have a game in hand. KKR need nothing less than a win in their next match to keep themselves alive.
CSK also kept their hopes of avoiding a last-place finnish by clinching back-to-back wins for the first time in the season.
MS Dhoni, while lauding Ravindra Jadeja’s consistent efforts at the death, said it was important for them to be relevant in the competition despite losing out of the race for the top 4.
“This season Jadeja has been fantastic. He’s been the only batsman in our team who has taken the job of scoring in the last few overs. Not just using his power but through point if the field is up. I feel throughout the season we needed someone by his side,” Dhoni said.
“We haven’t performed in the tournament but we felt it’s important to be relevant in the tournament. That’s what we kept requesting the guys. We said you prepare how you want to, but 3-3.5 hours give your best. We are not in the position to qualify and there’s plenty of takeaways and at the same time it gives a glimpse (of the talent).”
CSK will look to finish their season on a high when they take on high-flying Kings XI Punjab in their final match on November 1.