Ruturaj Gaikwad was on song against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday, smashing a 57-ball 99 as Chennai Super Kings beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by 13 runs at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune.
The 25-year-old was particularly severe on pace machine Umran Malik, taking down the speedster for 33 runs in 13 balls, including four fours and two sixes. The onslaught began in the eighth over, Umran's first, as Gaikwad got on top of the bounce and swatted a four over covers before launching a six over long-on next ball. Malik responded with a slower delivery, at 126 kmph, which Gaikwad dabbed behind point for a single.
Gaikwad met Umran's fire with elegance in the 10th over as he drove a 154 kmph missile - the fastest ball of the season so far - with a serene drive past long-on. Umran dragged his length back next ball, put Gaikwad piled more agony as he got a top-edge on the pull that went to the third-man boundary and brought up his fifty off 33 balls.
The Pune-born batter wasn't finished just yet at his home ground. After Umran bowled a wide outside off in the 12th over, trying to hide the ball away from Gaikwad's hitting arc, Gaikwad deposited a slower fuller delivery outside off to the long-on fence. The best was reserved for the end as Gaikwad held his pose after sending another over-pitched delivery outside off over the long-on boundary.
Umran, who turned heads with figures of five for 25 in his last match against Gujarat Titans, ended with figures of 4-0-48-0. Gaikwad's innings ended in agony as he cut a slower delivery from T Natarajan to backward point, falling one short of a second IPL hundred. However his 182-run opening stand with Devon Conway had put CSK on course for a commanding 202 for two.
Asked about facing short balls, Gaikwad said: "I did not expect it. There are some types of balls which bowlers cannot always execute, it's also two off six. So, I know when it's not coming, but I do work on it. I told Devon he can take his time, I know the ground and that runs come along as he plays along."
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