After Ruturaj Gaikwad scored 60-ball unbeaten hundred versus Rajasthan Royals (RR) at Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Saturday, Brian Lara has said that he will put the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) opener in the category of KL Rahul. The right-hander smashed 9 fours and 5 sixes during his innings.
After CSK were asked to bat first, the 24-year-old went berserk and smashed a six off the final delivery of the 20th over to become the youngest from the franchise to achieve the feat. Gaikwad needed 6 runs when RR pacer Mustafizur Rahman came in to bowl the final over. Ravindra Jadeja, who was at the crease with Gaikwad during the period, faced the first four balls, leaving the Maharashtra batsman with 2 balls to reach to his maiden T20 and IPL hundred.
The fifth ball from Mustafizur, a short one, was a dot but the young opener maintained his cool to slam a six over midwicket on the final delivery. The highlight of Ruturaj Gaikwad's inning was his intelligent shot selections and their execution with utmost ease. The batsman was so good on the eyes that batting great Brian Lara has heaped rich praises on him and put him in the category of Punjab Kings (PBKS) captain KL Rahul.
"Yeah, he could have been 135 if he had got more strike in the end overs. But it was a complete show of batsmanship. That's what I like about him, seeing how he put that innings together, how he surged in the second half of the innings. He was just tremendous to watch," Lara told Star Sports.
"He shows that you can play good cricket shots and still score big runs. And that's what I am proud of as a batsman. It was just remarkable and unbelievable.
"I will put him now in the KL Rahul category," he added.
The Pune-born cricketer, who recently made his India debut during the Sri Lanka tour, also became the first batsman to cross the 500-run mark in the ongoing IPL 2021 season. Overall, he has accumulated 508 runs at a staggering average of 50.80 and strike rate in excess of 140. Gaikwad will be next seen in action on Monday when Chennai take on Delhi Capitals (DC). Notably, both CSK and DC have qualified for the playoffs.