Gaikwad finished as the highest run-scorer in IPL 2021, with the 24-year-old pipping his fellow CSK opener Faf du Plessis to the Orange Cap by just two runs. The Pune-born cricketer, who also walked away with the Emerging Player award, amassed 635 runs in the current edition of the Indian Premier League at an excellent average of 45.35 and an impressive strike rate of 136.26.
Reflecting on CSK's batting effort in their win against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) last night, Aakash Chopra predicted a bright future for Gaikwad. He said the following in a video shared on his YouTube channel:
"Ruturaj Gaikwad is CSK's today and India's tomorrow. I like this player a lot. It is the first time that the same player is the Emerging Player and the Orange Cap winner. He has just topped everything."
The former India opener also showered praise on Faf du Plessis for rising to the occasion for CSK in the all-important final. Chopra elaborated:
"Faf du Plessis - cometh the hour, cometh the man. When the pressure is there, it is a final encounter and everything is on the line, you play a match-winning knock. Dinesh Karthik will still be feeling sad that if he had done the stumping, the things could have been different."
Dinesh Karthik missed a stumping off Shakib Al Hasan's bowling when Du Plessis had scored just two runs. The South African went on to play a match-winning 86-run knock off just 59 deliveries to help CSK set a massive 193-run target for KKR.
Aakash Chopra on CSK's other two star performers with the bat
Aakash Chopra highlighted that Robin Uthappa played a similar explosive knock to the one he had done for CSK against the Delhi Capitals (DC) in Qualifier 1. He observed:
"When Ruturaj Gaikwad gets out, Robin Uthappa comes. He was absolutely sensational. He started from where he had left actually, the way he had played against Delhi in the last match. He hit three sixes and 31 runs off 15 balls."
The 44-year-old concluded by stating that Moeen Ali didn't provide the KKR bowlers any respite either, taking the attack to them from the word go. Chopra pointed out:
"You feel that they might get slowed down once he gets out but no, Moeen Ali comes and then Mo in and ball out. They hit a lot. It is damn difficult if you reach a score of 192 in the final."
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Ali smoked an unbeaten 37 off just 20 deliveries and stitched together a 68-run third-wicket partnership with Du Plessis to cement CSK's authority in the match.
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