Ruturaj Gaikwad and the art of batting through an innings

This was Gaikwad’s second hundred in the IPL. (Source:

There is a different sense of calm whenever Ruturaj Gaikwad bats. The CSK skipper is a nervy starter and, at times, he tends to lose his wicket early in the powerplay. Matt Henry bowled a big inswinger first up to Gaikwad in the Tuesday night clash between CSK and LSG. Gaikwad left it alone, and the ball went over the stumps. On other days, that same ball might have crashed into them. But it was Gaikwad’s day, and after that ball, he didn’t look back. Next over, he played a back-foot punch and a cover drive; both going for fours on two consecutive deliveries. And both shots showed the class of Gaikwad.

More delightful sights arrived in the overs that followed, both executed against the left-arm pace of Mohsin Khan. There’s nothing to hide. Gaikwad struggles against left-arm pace. However, the way he started against Mohsin prompted KL Rahul to stop the left-arm pacer from one end. Gaikwad had won his battle against the left-arm angle.

He seems to enter a state where he is in his zone and nothing troubles him. He was in that zone against LSG. Spin has never been a cause of concern for Gaikwad, and the way he played Ravi Bishnoi and Krunal Pandya justified that statement. On a pitch that wasn’t the easiest to bat on, Gaikwad played a mighty fine innings. Finding gaps, manipulating fields, and playing extremely well on both sides of the square is what makes Gaikwad a complete batter. Whenever he bats, he aims to bat for a prolonged period. The 27-year-old batter carried his bat against LSG, a feat he also achieved when he scored his first IPL hundred against RR.

More recently, Gaikwad smashed his maiden T20I hundred against Australia last year, once again remaining unbeaten throughout the innings. This remarkable consistency across three T20 hundreds speaks volumes of Gaikwad’s character. It isn’t just about personal milestones. For him, it’s about fulfilling the role of the opener – batting long, batting deep.

One of the most striking aspects of Gaikwad’s game against LSG was his elegant strokeplay. Unlike many modern T20 batters who rely solely on brute force, Gaikwad combines classical technique with impeccable timing to pierce the field and find the rope. His ability to find gaps with precision and rotate the strike efficiently sets him apart in a format where every run counts. Even as Shivam Dube unleashed a barrage of strokes against the LSG bowlers, clocking a strike-rate of over 240, Gaikwad remained unruffled. Dube’s aggressive batting didn’t compel him to follow suit and opt for a more aggressive approach. Instead, he adhered to his own rhythm of batting. Gaikwad’s temperament is praiseworthy. Despite his youth, he radiates calmness and composure at the crease, seldom succumbing to the pressures of T20 cricket.

In the ever-evolving landscape of T20 cricket, where power-hitting often steals the limelight, the rise of Gaikwad as a special T20 batter is indeed a refreshing narrative. In a format like T20, batting success hinges on selecting the bowlers to exploit and capitalising on those opportunities. On Tuesday, Gaikwad capitalised on the relatively inexperienced LSG bowling attack.

Despite Gaikwad’s valiant efforts, his onslaught fell short of carrying CSK to victory. Nevertheless, his century was a testament to his brilliance in every aspect of the game. As captain, it was tough for him to witness his bowlers being smashed and eventually losing while defending 210. It wasn’t just the bowling; CSK were sloppy in the field as well, ensuring that Gaikwad’s innings would go in vain.