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Will this be the year of Ruturaj Gaikwad?



IPL 2020 was a forgettable outing for Chennai Super Kings.

However, there was a silver lining – The emergence of  Ruturaj Gaikwad, who had kept a low profile in the IPL ever since the Chennai Super Kings bought him for INR 20 lakhs at the 2019 auction.

Gaikwad had been bought by CSK after he consistently registered big scores for Pune in domestic cricket.

The stylish right-handed batsman did not have the best start to his IPL career last season.

He tested positive for the novel coronavirus before the season kicked off in Dubai and had to spend over three weeks in quarantine.

Gaikwad was not even expecting to be called for the first team after joining the training camp, but Dhoni turned to him when Ambati Rayudu was sidelined with an injury.

On his IPL debut, the youngster returned to the pavilion on a first-ball duck against Rajasthan Royals followed by 5 against Delhi Capitals.  

But the team management backed him and elevated him in the batting order.

The 24-year-old then opened in the IPL for the first time alongside veteran South Africa batsman Faf du Plessis.

Yet again, Gaikwad again couldn’t survive for too long as he was dismissed after playing merely five balls, thanks to a typical Trent Boult in-swinger.

But this is where the mental toughness of the Pune star came to the fore.

Despite a series of low scores, he continued to trust his batting and went on to grab Man Of The Match awards in three consecutive games.

Gaikwad scored 65 not out against Bangalore, 72 against Kolkata, and an unbeaten 62 in the final league game against Punjab.

CSK were already out of the title race by then, but a major plus point from the 2020 campaign was finding a genuine stroke-maker in the 24-year-old Gaikwad.

Gaikwad‘s roadmap ahead

Gaikwad needs to build on last year’s momentum.

It’s clear that the management trusts him. He has to justify this faith by continuing where he left off, last year.

He needs to stick to his instincts and amass quick runs for the Kings with an improved strike rate.

Gaikwad has played only six IPL games so far, but he has received high praise from great cricketing greats.

From being called “a young Virat Kohli by Du Plessis to “young superstar” by Shane Watson, his talent has been acknowledged in cricketing circles.

Even Sunil Gavaskar and Kumar Sangakkara were in awe of his ability to play free-flowing shots during pressure moments.

Good domestic record

Ruturaj first came into the limelight during the 2016-17 Vijay Hazare Trophy when he finished as the third highest run-scorer in the tournament.

He scored a staggering 456 runs in the 2019 Syed Mushtaq Trophy to become the second-highest scorer of the competition.

Gaikwad’s consistency in the domestic circuit showed that he was all set to take on the next challenge in cricket.

Not surprisingly, he was then called up for India A tours and also featured in the 2018 ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup.

Gaikwad went on to score 187 not out against Sri Lanka the same year and that knock played a major role in being picked in the IPL auction.

Areas of improvement

Like most Indian batsmen, Gaikwad is technically sound and his average of 51 in the IPL speaks volumes of it.

However, one thing he can work on is his power-hitting.

The right-handed batsman has mostly been anchoring the innings from one end, keeping the scoreboard ticking with singles and doubles.

This has resulted in a considerably low strike rate (120) and this could cost him in a high-scoring game.

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Smriti Mandhana and Ellyse Perry star in RCB women’s comeback win against UP Warriorz in WPL 2024




Smriti Mandhana and Alyssa Healy (Source - X)

RCB women overcame UP Warriorz by 23 runs to clinch their third win of the season. The home side outperformed Warriorz in all the facets of the game and emerged victorious. A collective team effort, particularly with the bat, helped RCB women to beat Warriorz for the second time in the season. They now have three wins in their five matches in the WPL 2024.

Alyssa Healy won the toss and opted to field first. Given how things have panned out in the league so far, it needed a great batting performance from RCB to challenge the chasing side. The home side did exactly that. They were full of intent which was lacking in the last few games. Right from the start, S Meghana and Smriti Mandhana smashed the bowlers.

It was the night of the RCB skipper. The Southpaw scored 80(50) in her stay. S Meghana perished after a valuable 28(21). Ellyse Perry batted well and registered her first fifty of the WPL 2024. She was aided well towards the end by Richa Ghosh whose 21(10) propelled RCB to a score of 198 on the board. It was the highest team total in the WPL 2024.

Alyssa Healy’s efforts go in vain

Chasing the daunting total, UP Warriorz were off to a flier. The opening duo of Healy and Kiran Navgire gave a fiery start to the visiting side. When the two were batting in the PP overs, it seemed like the Warriorz could pull off an insane chase. However, Sophie Devine brought RCB back into the game with crucial wickets. At Bengaluru, the home crowd was literally behind the RCB women.

It helped the home side to stay calm and do their job with ease. Sophie Molineux and Asha Sobhana were the pick of the bowlers, who claimed 2/29 each in their spell of four overs. While Healy scored a fifty and Deepti tried her best in the death overs, ten daunting targets could not be chased down. Despite the early hiccups, RCB managed to restrict UP Warriorz to a score of 175 and won by 23 runs.

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WATCH: Ellyse Perry in disbelief as her six breaks car’s window




Ellyse Perry smashed a six in the match against UP Warriorz in the WPL 2024. It was an interesting six as the ball travelled towards the boundary ropes and fell exactly on the window of the car. As a result, the glass of the window was broken. The car is set to be provided as a reward for the player of the tournament.

It was the over of Deepti Sharma towards the last few moments of RCB’s innings. Before Perry struck, the home side was in a great position in the match, thanks to a great start provided by Smriti Mandhana. The star batter scored 80 (50) and shined in front of the home crowd. Her form helped RCB to have a good momentum towards the death overs.

Watch the viral video here –

Perry, who was struggling till that point, opened up and smashed the bowlers for fun. She went hard against the spinners like Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Deepti Sharma who were asked to bowl at the death. The right-handed batter smashed back-to-back sixes in the over of Sharma. One of those travelled towards the mid-wicket region where the car was stationed. The video of her shot has gone viral on X.

RCB teammates laugh, Ellyse Perry in disbelief

As the ball fell on the car and damaged the window, the fans erupted. There was no end to the joy of the fans who started chanting “Perry.. Perry..” and lit the atmosphere of the stadium. However, Perry was in disbelief. As she saw the impact of the ball damaging the car’s window, the Australian batter could not believe her eyes and thought about what she had just done.

On the other hand, the RCB teammates of Perry were in awe of the shot. They looked at the replays and appreciated the shot of Perry. At the same time, players like Sophie Molineux and Sophie Devine had a laugh about the car’s window getting damaged. Ellyse scored a fifty and helped her team score 198 runs with her batting in front of the home crowd.

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Praveen Kumar addresses Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer’s negligence of taking part in Ranji Trophy




Praveen Kumar

Praveen Kumar has given his opinion on the preferences of Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer in recent times. The duo did not take part in the Ranji Trophy matches for their respective teams despite being fit. It did not go well with the Indian Cricket Board which landed the duo without a ventral contract which was announced a few days back.

Praveen Kumar has reacted to the issue recently. The former India pacer claimed that he has been of an opinion on the issue for a long time. Praveen felt that one should definitely earn money but not at the cost of neglecting to play for domestic and national teams. The right-arm pacer felt that players today are having a certain mentality which is not good.

The former pacer claimed that the players have a mindset that they can rest for a month before taking part in the IPL, thereby bypassing playing for their national team or the domestic teams. Praveen felt that the players could not resist letting go of money which they could earn by taking part in the IPL and other T20 leagues (For foreign players).

‘Ye mentally hota hai, ki mai itne paise kaise chodun’ – Praveen Kumar

“This thing is now firmly in the mind of players. Mai ek mahine pehle rest kar lunga, fir IPL khel lunga. Ye mentally hota hai, ki mai itne paise kaise chodun,” said Praveen in the interview. He claimed that youngsters these days are spoilt and are behind money. The former RCB pacer felt that it is not fair on the part of the young players to neglect the country over the IPL.

Kumar felt that a player needs to maintain a balance between playing for the IPL team and for the country. He felt that money is an important factor, but not at the cost of playing for the national team. “But this is not fair at all. A player needs to balance things. Money is important, but this (giving franchise cricket the priority) is wrong,” said the former Indian bowler in the interview.

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