Chennai Super Kings are known for backing their players to the title. At CSK, most players are assured of a long rope that helps them hit peak form. On Wednesday, CSK reaped the rewards for showing faith in young opener Ruturaj Gaikwad who did not have the ideal start to the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 season.
Ruturaj Gaikwad was retained by CSK for IPL 2021 after the young Maharashtra opener hit as many as 3 fifties towards the end of their floundering campaign in the UAE last year. As expected, Ruturaj partnered with Faf du Plessis in the new season but the opener got scores of 5, 5, and 10 as he struggled to get going.
Ruturaj was backed for CSK’s 4th match of IPL 2021, the evening match in a double-header, against KKR on Wednesday. And the young opener returned to peak form, showcasing his class and elegance.
Ruturaj hit 64 off 42 balls as he took the attack to KKR new-ball bowlers. He stitched a 115-run opening stand with Faf du Plessis, who went on to hit an unbeaten 95, as CSK posted a match-winning total of 220.
Speaking after CSK’s win, MS Dhoni said he just posed a simple question to Ruturaj to assess his mentality ahead of their match against KKR in Mumbai.
“Rutu showed his class in the last IPL. You always need to assess where he is mentally. Once when he was off guard, I asked him ‘how are you feeling today?’. When you ask a question like that, you wait for the reactions, you see what’s in his eyes,” Dhoni said.
“There was enough in his reactions to suggest he wasn’t rattled.
“That’s what I’ve been doing all my life (applying a bit of psychology) but in a good way,” he added.
Dhoni marshalled his troops well as Deepak Chahar broke the back of KKR’s top-order with 4 wickets in his 4 over-spell. KKR were reeling at 31/5 but a late assault from Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik and Pat Cummins helped the 2-time champions get close to the total.
Despite the scare, CSK went on to win their match by 18 runs and jump to the top of the table with 3 wins from 4 matches in IPL 2021.