Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni lavished praise on Ravindra Jadeja, who played the best cameo of IPL 2020 on Thursday, and attested that the all-rounder has been a lone warrior with the bat for CSK at the back-end. Dhoni further expressed delight over the rise of Ruturaj Gaikwad.
Chennai Super Kings fans, prior to today, had been accustomed to many a choke this season and it was deja vu in a chase of 173 as from a commanding position, CSK dragged themselves to a corner. Needing 30 to win off the final 2 overs, the game looked like it had slipped out of Chennai’s hand but a remarkable cameo from Ravindra Jadeja, who struck an 11-ball 31, took the Men in Yellow over the line.
It was not Jadeja’s first onslaught of the season, having previously played a similar knock vs Delhi Capitals, and his IPL 2020 SR of 172 serves as a testament to the same. Speaking in the post-match presentation, CSK skipper heaped praise on his all-rounder, who he described as a lone warrior with the bat at the death.
“This season Jadeja has been fantastic. He's been the only batsman in our team who has taken the job of scoring in the last few overs. Not just using his power but through point if the field is up. I feel throughout the season we needed someone by his side. [the changes] are a conscious effort,” Dhoni said at the post-match presentation.
It was not just Jadeja who shone as young Ruturaj Gaikwad, for the second game running, caught eyes and bagged back-to-back Man of the Match awards. The youngster’s 72 set up the game for CSK and Dhoni, who was earlier accused of publicly chastising younger players, labelled the Maharashtrian as ‘one of the most talented youngsters going around’. Dhoni claimed that IPL 2020 will be a season to remember for young Gaikwad.
“Ruturaj we'd seen him in the nets, but then he got Covid positive and took 20 days. Unfortunate but he'll remember this season. He's one of the most talented players going around. What makes it difficult is he's not somebody who speaks a lot! So sometimes it becomes difficult for the management to gauge a player."
“Once he started going in the innings, you could see that he was hitting the ball the way he wants to and he was planning. When we made him play the first game, he got out, stepped out. It becomes difficult to tell whether it was the pressure that made him step out or whether that's his natural game,” Dhoni spoke of Gaikwad’s journey in IPL 2020.
CSK entered the game today with a free mind, knowing they were out of the race for the top four, and the absence of pressure helped the players, who turned up on the night. The CSK skipper revealed that he’d requested the players to enjoy the game and give all they had for 3.30 hours to ensure that the team ends the season on a high.
“We haven't performed in the tournament but we felt it's important to be relevant in the tournament. That's what we kept requesting the guys. We said you prepare how you want to, but 3-3.5 hours give your best. We are not in the position to qualify and there's plenty of takeaways and at the same time it gives a glimpse [of the talent].”
CSK will close out their IPL 2020 campaign against Kings XI Punjab in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.