Ruturaj Gaikwad missed on a well-deserved century by a run but equalled legendary Sachin Tendulkar as the joint-fastest to score 1000 runs in the Indian Premier League on Sunday. Both Ruturaj and Sachin reached the landmark in 31 innings.
The Maharashtra batter, playing on his home ground at the MCA Stadium in Pune, was out for a heartbreaking 99 and put on 182 runs for the opening wicket with Devon Conway. The duo helped Chennai Super Kings beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by 13 runs after posting a mammoth 202/2 in 20 overs.
Former CSK batter Suresh Raina (34), Devdutt Padikkal (35) of Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Capitals captain Rishabh Pant (35) are also on the list.
Change in leadership brought a change in fortunes for Chennai Super Kings.
Leading Chennai Super Kings for the first time in IPL 2022, MS Dhoni lost the toss but Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway’s demolishing act against the Sunrisers Hyderabad bowlers gave them the upper hand from the onset.
Gaikwad, who has been blowing hot and cold this season, was at his destructive best as he smashed six sixes and as many fours before tragically falling short of a ton by just one run. The 25-year-old stood on his backfoot and played some exceptional shots to dominate the formidable SRH bowling unit.
Anything short was pulled with immaculate ease, while pitched up deliveries were treated with equal disdain as Gaikwad didn't miss a trick to send SRH on a leather hunt during his classy innings. The IPL 2022 Orange Cap holder was particularly harsh on young pace sensation Umran Malik.
Gaikwad smashed the pacer over cover first before lifting him over long-on for another maximum in his first over. Malik cranked up the pace but ended up conceding two more boundaries off Gaikwad's blade as the opener completed his half-century off 33 balls.
South African import Aiden Markram too wasn’t spared as Gaikwad clobbered him for successive sixes to bring up 100 in the 11th over. Malik was again in the line of fire as Gaikwad slogged him over long-on for a boundary before lifting him over long-off for another maximum.
However, Gaikwad was finally dismissed by T Natarajan for 99 thus ending a 182-run stand, the highest in the tournament. “It (the pitch) was a bit slower, but I feel if you get set, you can score here. I was trying to maintain the balance, so I tried to be neutral,” Gaikwad said after his innings.
“It's pretty much usual, the thought process was on being focussed on the process. I am pretty confident we will defend it,” he added. “I have not batted with him (Conway), but I have spent a lot of time with him. Whatever I wanted from him, I was pretty upfront,” said Gaikwad on his partnership with Conway.
Meanwhile, the Gaikwad-Conway stand also broke a few records. The 182-run stand between the two for the first wicket was the fourth-highest opening partnership in IPL. The 185-run stand between Jonny Bairstow and David Warner (then playing for SRH) against RCB in 2019 is still the highest.
The 182 runs between Conway and Gaikwad was the highest stand for CSK in IPL, bettering Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis’ 181 against Punjab Kings in 2022. Robin Uthappa and Shivam Dube’s 165-run stand against RCB this year stands third on the list.