The second leg of the IPL 2021 kicked off in UAE on 19th September 2021. Age-old rivals CSK and MI played each other in the first match to set the tone for a thrilling tournament. Batting first, CSK started off rough as the top order subsided even before the powerplay. After 6 overs, CSK had only managed to put up 24 runs and lost 4 wickets. Ruturaj Gaikwad then led the team through the storm and played an unbeaten knock of 88 runs to secure a total of 156/6. CSK successfully defended the total and won by 20 runs. Dwayne Bravo took 3 wickets, Deepak Chahar took 2, Josh Hazelwood and Shardul Thakur took one wicket each. Gaikwad obtained the Man of the Match Award for smashing nine fours and three sixes in his incredible knock.
“This is my fifth Man of the Match Award in 13 games. Obviously, the situation was tough, we had lost our top-order. It was about taking responsibility and finding a way to reach 120-130. I spent some time in the middle and I reassessed the target,” Gaikwad said to Deepak Chahar in a video posted on iplt20.com.
“I talked with Ravindra Jadeja about building a partnership. Actually, we have had good preparation, we reached UAE before the other teams. We benefited from practising a lot,” he added.
Gaikwad also thanked Mahindra Singh Dhoni for his precious mentorship and guidance. “When Mahi Bhai is around and with the CSK management, once they back you, you don’t have to think much”, he remarked.
Aged 24, Gaikwad made his national debut with India in the Covid-hit Sri Lanka series. He admitted that the tour braced him for the second phase of the Indian Premier League. “The Sri Lanka tour and the preparation coming here did help too”, Gaikwad said.
Gaikwad was also dropped on just 19 by Quindon de Kock which came at a cost of 2 precious points for Mumbai Indians. With this upbeat start, Chennai Super Kings has now advanced to the top of the IPL 2021 points table with 12 points and a net run rate of 1.223. Mumbai Indians have slipped to the fourth spot with 8 points and have a net run rate of -0.71.
Also read: NEW RULES FOR IPL TO BE SEEN IN UAE LEG