Ruturaj Gaikwad was one of the members of the CSK contingent who tested positive for coronavirus in the first week upon arrival in Dubai. Due to this, he made a late entry into the playing XI of the team and when he finally got a chance to play, he was out for duck against Rajasthan Royals. The next two matches were not kinder as he got out for five against Delhi Capitals and a duck again vs Mumbai Indians. But on Sunday, Gaikwad beat the odds, struggled past the initial hiccups and got a win for his team and MS Dhoni, who showed faith in the batsman time and again, was a proud captain.
Chasing a target of 146 against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Gaikwad was sent to open for his team. He could not open his account in the first four deliveries with him before in this tournament. But on the fifth ball, he flicked his wrists to push the ball towards the long-on to get the first single. He never looked back as he went on to score 65 runs off 51 deliveries and won the Player of the Match award.
In the post-match conference, Captain MS Dhoni shared his views on Gaikwad’s progress. What Dhoni said was reiterated by the team in an Instagram post showing the two batsmen sharing a nice time on the field that day.
“This year has been tough on Rutu as well. He batted in Chennai, then Covid, the extra quarantine took precious time away from him...the coaches will help you out and support but ultimately you have to battle it out. After the first single, he grew in confidence," said Dhoni.
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"This year has been tough on Rutu as well. He batted in Chennai, then Covid, the extra quarantine took precious time away from him...the coaches will help you out and support but ultimately you have to battle it out. After the first single, he grew in confidence." - @mahi7781 on @ruutu.131
A post shared by Chennai Super Kings (@chennaiipl) on Oct 26, 2020 at 1:24am PDT
Gaikwad had to spend two extra weeks of isolation at a quarantine facility in Dubai. He could only re-join the team after returning two negative tests for Covid-19.
"It was tough for me, going quarantine for (more) days than the other guys," Gaikwad admitted after collecting the Player of the Match award. “Friends, family, everyone was supporting me and somewhere I knew I was practising well. Unfortunately (I) got out in the first three matches. But the support staff and having the captain Mahi bhai always supporting me, it helped a lot for me,” added Gaikwad.
CSK posted just their fourth victory of the season and are very unlikely to make the playoffs. But on this day, they appeared at their best as the top four batsmen, including du Plessis and Rayudu, did a fantastic job in the chase. Gaikwad held a nice partnership with Dhoni and finished the match with a sixer off Chris Morris’ delivery.