IPL 2021: CSK vs MI - Ruturaj Gaikwad shines under intense pressure against Mumbai Indians
Ruturaj Gaikwad rescued the CSK innings with a magnificent knock under tremendous pressure
CSK opener Ruturaj Gaikwad's introduction to the high-profile clash against Mumbai Indians wasn't quite sweet. The youngster got peppered by short balls from Adam Milne and Trent Boult also got the ball to swing in the early stages of the match. What made matters worse is that Gaikwad had to witness his experienced teammates in Faf du Plessis, Moeen Ali, MS Dhoni, and Suresh Raina struggle against Mumbai Indians in the powerplay.
'Struggle' is surely an understatement here. CSK were at 24 for 4 at the end of Powerplay and by all means, were down and out. However, 24-year-old Ruturaj Gaikwad was paying no heed to the mental gymnastics of run rates and jibes from critics. When stand-in Mumbai Indians captain Kieron Pollard decided to take the pressure a notch down and hold Bumrah back in order to use some spin with Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya, Gaikwad sensed an opportunity and decided to pounce.
Ruturaj Gaikwad's captain MS Dhoni would've been extremely proud of the way the youngster went about his innings tonight. In typical Dhoniesque fashion, he took the innings one over at a time dividing it into smaller, achievable targets. He dealt with the spin duo of Chahar and Pandya rather comfortably which made him more and more assured as the match went on following the bloodbath at the start.
The youngster was batting at 26 for 30 by the 11th over when CSK's score was 48/4. Even until that point, taking on and counter-attacking the Mumbai Indians bowlers seemed like a distant dream. However, as Gaikwad grew into the match, he became more and more formidable.
Ruturaj Gaikwad ended up scoring 62 runs in his next 28 deliveries! The boundaries were quick to arrive once he had enough spring in his bat. Not many batsmen can claim to have swept Trent Boult for a boundary and swept Jasprit Bumrah for a six off the last ball!
When the experienced veterans crumbled under the insane pressure in the first powerplay, the 24-year-old held on. He stuck to his guns, took the game deep and got rewarded for it. He ended his masterclass at 88 from just 58 deliveries - the highest score for a CSK player against MI.