From a diamond duck to a knock as sparkling as a diamond. Ruturaj Gaikwad must have experienced a rollercoaster of emotions in the span of five nights.
The stylish opener’s 123 not out (57b) at the ACA Stadium here on Tuesday was, of course, eclipsed by yet another stunning onslaught towards the end by Glenn Maxwell, who is going through an incredible run; he took Australia to a five-wicket win in the third T20I.
Maxwell’s 104 not out was scored at a strike-rate of 216.66; that was only marginally better than Gaikwad’s 215.78. If the Australian made some of his runs with those unorthodox yet hugely productive shots of his, the Indian scored most of his runs in true classical style, with a touch of artistry.
Gaikwad is a delight to watch. Even in the mad world of modern white-ball batting, with the V behind the stumps becoming as important as the traditional one in front – something the likes of Maxwell and Suryakumar Yadav remind us – he is refreshing, regardless of the format.
As he showed in his maiden T20I hundred, he could get his runs fast without compromising his style. When it wasn’t too easy to bat – and India was off to a poor start losing two in-form batters – he played within himself, scoring at just a run-a-ball, but then pressed the accelerator to take India past 220, which would probably have been enough against a Maxwell-less team.
“Initially I thought it was a bit tacky, the ball was stopping a little, and there was some movement in the air and off the pitch,” Gaikwad said. “You cannot lose three wickets in the PowerPlay. Knowing that Surya was there and that he would play his shots, my plan was simple: that I would bat (quietly) for some time and then take the innings forward.”
He praised the night’s other century-maker. “I think Maxwell batted really well, and to win from a situation where they needed 100 from seven or seven-and-a-half overs, and then 50 from three, it was a creditable innings from him,” he said.
“Our bowlers tried executing what they had in their control, and the dew was making the ball slip, so it was tough for them. In these conditions, 12 runs an over, and even 13 or 14, is gettable. In the first game, we saw how easily we managed to chase 209.”
Gaikwad was run-out without facing a ball in that match at Visakhapatnam due to a mix-up with his opening partner Yashsavi Jaiswal, but in the second match at Thiruvananthapuram, he scored 58 (43b). Now, with his sparkling hundred, he yet again showed the future is indeed looking bright at the top of the order for the Men in Blue.
- Chelsea vs Liverpool Carabao Cup 2023-24 final LIVE Score: CHE 0 - 0 LIV, EFL League Cup updates, match into extra-time
- Gujarat Giants vs Mumbai Indians Live Score, WPL 2024: Harmanpreet Kaur takes MI close to second win on the trot
- Al Shabab vs Al Nassr LIVE updates, SHB 0-0 NAS, Saudi Pro League: First-half underway, Ronaldo and Co start as favourites
- ISL 2023-24: Diamantakos strikes twice as Blasters pull off stunning comeback win
- Carabao Cup final, CHE vs LIV: Why was Van Dijk goal disallowed in Liverpool vs Chelsea?