Ruturaj Gaikwad has said that he is trying to be as consistent as possible and looking to deliver for his team on the big stage.
Gaikwad scored 108 runs off 131 balls to help Maharashtra set a 249-run target for Saurashtra in the Vijay Hazare Trophy final on Friday, December 2, at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. However, their bowlers could not defend the score as Sheldon Jackson's unbeaten 133-run knock helped Jaydev Unadkat and Co. register a five-wicket win.
During the post-match presentation, Gaikwad was asked if he had changed anything in his game. He replied in the negative, elaborating:
"Not really, I am just trying to enjoy the game, trying to be in the present and just focussing on what is required for the team and just looking to give good starts and then convert good starts into big hundreds. So not really changed anything, just trying to be as consistent as I can."
The Maharashtra skipper was also asked about his thoughts on having scored three consecutive centuries in the knockout stages of the tournament, to which he responded:
"I think it was important for me to get back. Obviously, I was coming from injury as well. I had to lead from the front being the senior player and being the responsible batter in the team. Two or three players were young in the team, coming for the first time. So obviously I had to deliver on the big stage."
Gaikwad smashed an unbeaten 220 against Uttar Pradesh in the quarterfinals of the domestic 50-over tournament. He followed that with a 168-run knock in the semi-finals against Assam before completing a hat-trick of centuries in the final.
"I was enjoying a lot" - Ruturaj Gaikwad on facing the Saurashtra pacers in seamer-friendly conditions
Gaikwad was further asked about batting in the morning when the seamers had help from the pitch. He replied:
"Actually, I was enjoying a lot because obviously there was a thought in my mind, am I playing white ball or red ball, because of the kind of bowling attack they had and the line and lengths they were bowling."
The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) opener added that he wanted to stay at the crease for as long as possible and shepherd his side to a decent total, saying:
"It was very challenging and I had to enjoy it. I had to go through the process and make sure that I am calm and staying till the 40th or 45th over. Thankfully it was my day today."
The Maharashtra opener started sedately and pressed the accelerator once he got his eye in, striking seven fours and four sixes during his innings. He was unfortunately run out at the non-striker's end after a slight mix-up with Azim Kazi.
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