Blitz in IPL 2023 opener earn Ruturaj Gaikwad rich praise from MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya
Ruturaj Gaikwad continued from strength to strength in the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) colours through the opening game of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 this Friday (March 31).
The young CSK opener played a magnificent innings of 92 off 50 deliveries to almost singlehandedly give his team a competitive score against defending champions Gujarat Titans (GT). The India and Maharashtra right-hander helped CSK post a competitive score of 178/7 in their 20 overs.
The innings may not have been good enough for CSK to propel to a victory as their familiar bowling issues cameback haunting, but earned the talented cricketer rich praise from two of the giants of Indian cricket present on the same field with him.
CSK's legendary captain MS Dhoni and his Titans counterpart Hardik Pandya couldn't help but laud Ruturaj Gaikwad for playing a knock befitting of his highly promising abilities in front of a packed Ahmedabad crowd.
Dhoni, Hardik lavish praise on Ruturaj Gaikwad
Even though at pain for his team's loss at the hands of the Titans, who chased down the 179-run target with five wickets in hand in the last over, Dhoni could savour Ruturaj Gaikwad's knock as CSK's biggest positive from the night.
Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, the great wicketkeeper-batter heaped effusive praise on the young gun, stating it is a "pleasure" to watch him go about his business against opposition attacks.
"Ruturaj (Gaikwad) was brilliant, he times the ball well and he's a pleasure to watch. The way he picks his options, it is pleasing to watch. I think it's important for the youngsters to step in," said the legend himself.
Also Read - Kane Williamson ruled out of IPL 2023: Reports
Notably, Pandya, too, spoke in the same breath for the Indian opener, who is making a comeback from injury and is in his fourth IPL season on the bounce with CSK.
The Titans captain said he was wary of chasing a score in excess of 200-230 at one stage of the innings because of the way Gaikwad was shaping up in the middle.
Be it the pacers or the spinners, Gaikwad unleashed his wrath, hitting 4 fours and 9 sixes in a scintillating effort against one of the best bowling attacks in the competition.
"At one point, it looked like CSK would score 220-230. We were finding it difficult on what area we should bowl at Ruturaj. I genuinely felt that today we could not get him out at all," Pandya told reporters at the post-match press conference.
"Some of the shots that he played were not bad balls, he was punishing the good balls as well. As a bowling unit and as a captain, that made my job more difficult."
Pandya said Gaikwad has the game to do "wonders" for Indian cricket in the years to follow.
"Some of the shots Rutu played was nothing to do with the bowling. He played some outrageous shots," he added. "Full credit to him the way he batted and if he continues to do so he is going to do wonders for Indian cricket. He has the game and I am sure when the time comes Indian cricket team will back him enough."