Bengaluru, October 30: After warming the Chennai Super Kings bench for a while, when the opportunity finally came, Ruturaj Gaikwad has grabbed it with both hands as he showed with his second successive match-winning half-century in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020.
The 23-year-old followed up his unbeaten 65 off 51 balls from the last game against Royal Challengers Bangalore, with an even-more impressive 72 off 53 balls against Kolkata Knight Riders in Match 49 of IPL at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Thursday (October 29) night.
His blistering knock laid the foundation for all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja to seal CSK's victory in the last ball.
The Maharashtra batsman had to wait for his chance as CSK tried various permutations and combinations at the top.
In the match against KKR, when mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy dismissed the seasoned Shane Watson, it looked as thouh CSK's chase might be derailed.
But Gaikwad kept his cool as batting with a straight bat was his way to handle the guile of the KKR spinner.
Gaikwad's innings came in for special praise from CSK skipper MS Dhoni.
"Ruturaj (Gaikwad) has shown the talent that he is. He's one of the talented youngsters going around. He isn't someone who speaks a lot. Once you go inside, you're the only one handling the pressure. When we made him play the first game, he stepped out and got out. But one ball is never enough. I think it's very exciting how he has grabbed his chances," Dhoni said after the win.
But even before Dhoni's acknowledgment, Gaikwad had been destined for bigger things by none other Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar.
In a YouTube video posted ahead of the match, Tendulkar had praised Gaikwad's technique and temperament saying that he was due for a match-defining innings.
"I haven't seen much of him, but of what I saw he has an excellent bat swing and great temperament. At no stage, he looked like he would slog. He played proper cricketing shots and improvised. When a batsman starts playing proper cricket shots, lofting the ball over cover or mid-wicket or straight down over bowler's head, he is deemed to play long innings," said Tendulkar.
And boy! Gaikwad proved it right!