Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni heaped praises on youngster Ruturaj Gaikwad after the latter played a brilliant innings against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Thursday at the Dubai International Stadium.
In what was a nail-biting match, Ruturaj Gaikwad’s scintillating 53-ball 72 and Ravindra Jadeja’s unbeaten 31 in 11 balls helped Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in beating Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by six-wickets.
“We’d seen him in the nets, but then he turned Covid positive and it took him 20 days to get back. Unfortunate, but he’ll remember this season,” said Dhoni in the post-match presentation ceremony in which Gaikwad won his second Player of the Match award on the trot.
“He’s one of the most talented players around. What makes it difficult is he’s not somebody who speaks a lot. So sometimes it becomes difficult for the management to gauge a player. Once he started going in the innings, you could see that he was hitting the ball the way he wants.
“When we made him play the first game, he got out after stepping out. It was difficult to tell whether it was pressure that made him step out or whether that’s his natural game. One ball isn’t enough,” Dhoni said.
Chasing the 173-run taget, the three times champions were off to a good start, thanks to Gaikwad’s responsible knock at the top. But a mini collapse in the middle-order had brought KKR back into the contest. With 20 runs requiring in the last two overs, Jadeja’s blitzkrieg knock helped CSK cross the line in the very last ball of the match.
The win took CSK’s points tally to 10. However, it will be impossible for Dhoni’s team to qualify for the knockout stage of the tournament.
We haven’t performed in the tournament but we felt it’s important to be relevant. That’s what we kept telling the guys. We said you prepare how you want to, but three to three-and-a-half hours during the match, give your best. We are not in the position to qualify (for the playoffs), but there’re plenty of takeaways,” he said.
The defeat put KKR in a tricky position as they now have 12 points from 13 matches. Eoin Morgan’s men will have to win their last league match and depend on other teams’ results to make its to the playoffs of the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).