"People who read the game, those are players you need in your team" - Dhoni on Gaikwad

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10 May 2023 | 06:59 PM
authorcricket.com staff

"People who read the game, those are players you need in your team" - Dhoni on Gaikwad

Ruturaj Gaikwad has smashed 408 runs in 11 innings at an average of 40.8 and a strike rate of 147.3, which is his best in an IPL season

Ruturaj Gaikwad is not amongst the top-five run scorers in the ongoing Indian Premier League but the 26-year-old has played many impactful knocks for Chennai Super Kings this season. The right-handed opener has 408 runs in 11 innings at an average of 40.8 and a strike rate of 147.3, which is his best in an IPL season.

Even if you look at his number in the powerplay, Gaikwad has operated at a strike rate of 154 in IPL 2023. In his previous three seasons, not once he had a strike rate of more than 115. This year, Gaikwad has only two fifties but has nine 30 or 30-plus scores in 11 innings. MS Dhoni said he has the awareness and reads the game well.

“He (Gaikwad) is batting really well, he's somebody once he starts scoring, he's very effortless. He's somebody who's happy to rotate. He has the game awareness. He is ready to adapt. You rarely get people like that. People who read the game, those are the kind of players you need in your team,” said Dhoni after Chennai hammered Delhi Capitals by 27 runs. 

Gaikwad got 24 off 18, while the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Shivam Dube, Ambati Rayudu, Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja all chipped in with good cameos. What was interesting that all six of them got out in the 20s. Chennai got 167/8 in 20 overs but MSD felt they could have done better.

“I felt 166-170 was a good score. But as a batting unit, we can do better. The good thing is Moeen and Jaddu got a chance to bat. As we get closer to the last phase of the tournament, it's important that everybody has a few deliveries under their belt. We need to be happy with our batting,” said Dhoni.

The ball did a lot more in the second innings, with Deepak Chahar moving the new ball, while the three spinners got it to turn. “It turned a lot in the second half. We know that our spinners use a lot more seam than some of the other bowlers. We thought it'll slow down. We didn't know what's a good score. 

“That's why I wanted the bowlers to bowl their best deliveries but not look for wickets every delivery. That's when you start not bowling well.”

Chennai’s spin trio was going to be the biggest threat in the second innings but Delhi made things even more easier for them by losing three wickets inside four overs. David Warner and Philip Salt fell to Chahar, while Mitchell Marsh was run-out in the fourth over. 

Manish Pandey (29-ball 27) and Rilee Rossouw (37-ball 35) stuck around but not once looked like would take the game away from Chennai. Maheesh Theekshana, Jadeja and Moeen Ali took only one wicket between them but conceded just 51 runs in 10 overs. Matheesha Pathirana then closed the chase with a three-wicket haul.

“Back to losing three wickets. We lost a wicket in the first over. Our opening combination is crucial. We lost a wicket to a run-out. We threw wickets away. Put too much on pressure on ourselves. Was a gettable total. To sum it up, we needed a better first six. We couldn't rotate strike. We needed to try different things but we couldn't,” said Warner.

Meanwhile, Dhoni himself has been superb with the bat down the order. The 41-year-old is nursing a knee injury and has restricted his batting for those last couple of overs. In eight innings, the wicket-keeper batter has smashed 96 runs at an average of 48 and a strike rate of 204.3. He has faced only 47 deliveries but hit 10 maximums.

“This is what my job is, I have told them this is what I am supposed to do, don't make me run a lot and it has been working. This is what I need to do, happy to contribute.”

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Chennai Super Kings vs Delhi CapitalsIndian Premier League, 2023Chennai Super KingsDelhi CapitalsMS DhoniDavid Warner

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