'Some of the shots Rutu played was nothing to do with the bowling. He played some outrageous shots.'
Gujarat Titans skipper Hardik Pandya heaped praise on Ruturaj Gaikwad following the Chennai Super Kings batter’s brilliant knock against his team in the opening match of Indian Premier League 2023, at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, on Friday.
Shubman Gill's 63 though overshadowed Gaikwad's heroics as Gujarat Titans emerged triumphant by five wickets.
According to Pandya, had the CSK opener had not got out after scoring 92 runs the Super Kings would have ended up posting a total of around 220-230.
"At one point it looked like CSK would score 220-230. We were finding it difficult on what area we should bowl at Ruturaj. I genuinely felt that today we could not get him out at all. Some of the shots that he played were not bad balls; he was punishing the good balls as well.
“As a bowling unit and as captain that made my job more difficult," he said at the post-match press conference.
Gaikwad, according to Pandya, will work "wonders" for Indian cricket if he maintains such form.
"Some of the shots Rutu played was nothing to do with the bowling. He played some outrageous shots. Full credit to him the way he batted and if he continues to do so he is going to do wonders for Indian cricket. He has the game and I am sure when the time comes Indian cricket team will back him enough."
Pandya expressed satisfaction with his team's performance while also noting that they were not at their best.
"Obviously, very good to start with the win. A couple of shots from myself and Shubman put us in a difficult situation, but again Rahul (Tewatia) brought the best out of his ability and then Rashid (Khan) came in and showed what he can do. We can learn quite a few things from this victory," added Pandya.
Wriddhiman Saha and Gill fired on all the cylinders right from the first ball. Even though Saha lost his wicket to the last ball of the fourth over, he had already achieved the task he was assigned.
Pandya also lauded the showing of Rahid.
Gujarat needed 41 from their final five overs, but CSK were able to keep the game close. To ease the tension in the Gujarat Titans locker room, Rashid slammed a quickfire unbeaten 10 off 3 deliveries to ensure victory.
"We weren't surprised with what Rashid did. We expected this from Rashid. We show a lot of trust and confidence in his batting and he has shown it again and again."