Opening batter Ruturaj Gaikwad has attributed Chennai Super Kings' success in the ongoing IPL to their pre-season camp and praised the team management for making the players feel secured and clearly stating their roles.
Four-time champions CSK put themselves in line for a fifth IPL title triumph after they stormed into the final with a 15-run victory over holders Gujarat Titans in the Qualifier 1 in Chennai on Tuesday.
"The camp was very vital because a new surface was being laid over in Chennai," Gaikwad said at the post-match press conference.
"Everyone was not sure how the wicket is going to be or how the wicket is going to play. But sometimes when you play on flat tracks, you need not have to think much on your shots and not much about the opposition bowling.
"Sometimes batsmen play good shots and hats off to him. Even while you're batting, it's about getting into the zone."
Gaikwad was making his assessment after CSK beat Gujarat Titans on a tricky Chepauk pitch to make their 10th IPL final.
Several CSK players, including Gaikwad himself, had never played an IPL game in Chennai before this season. The camp had begun on March 3, with captain Dhoni, Ajinkya Rahane and Ambati Rayudu among the first batch of players to arrive in the city.
"A lot of effort goes into our success," Gaikwad said.
"It started from last year when we didn't qualify for playoffs. Obviously, the management got something to work on and there were things which we needed to improve and put an effort on, or add someone."
"This year, right from the first game, I think we were clinical and sure about who is going to play and who is not going to play and what will be our probable 12 or 13 or 15."
"I think right from the first game everyone knew about their roles. When the Sri Lankans came late -- Theekshana and Matheesha Pathirana -- I think they were up to the mark even from the first game."
"So, I think we were pretty much playing with the same team and just continued the momentum. And hats off to everyone -- the support staff and the management as well."
IN the match, CSK did well to reach 172 for 7 on a slow pitch after Hardik Pandya opted to bowl.
Considering the conditions, it turned out to be much more than a competitive total as Gujarat Titans had a rare off day to end with 157 all out in 20 overs.
Rashid Khan made the CSK fans nervous with a 16-ball 30 towards the end but it was not enough for the Titans.