Ruturaj Gaikwad guided Maharashtra to the finals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy for the first time in the tournament’s history. The right-handed batsman smashed multiple centuries and emerged as Player of the series in this Vijay Hazare Trophy 2022. Jaydev Unadkat-led Saurashtra won the premier one-day domestic tournament with a five-wicket win over Maharashtra.
Batting first, Gaikwad, who is going through a purple patch in his career on the domestic circuit, smashed another List-A century with not much support at the other end. He scored 108 runs off 131 balls with seven fours and four sixes. Saurashtra chased down the target of 249 runs by losing five wickets in 46.3 overs. Wicketkeeper-batsman Sheldon Jackson led his side to victory with 133 runs off 136 balls, including 12 fours and five sixes.
It Was Challenging And I Was Enjoying It – Ruturaj Gaikwad
Ruturaj Gaikwad stated during the post-match presentation that he is trying to be as consistent as possible and that converting starts into big hundreds. The Maharashtra skipper scored three consecutive centuries in the tournament’s knockout stages.
“I’m just trying to enjoy the game and stay in the present, looking to give good starts and then convert them into big hundreds. I’m just trying to become as consistent as possible. It was important for me to get back well from injury. Had to lead from the front, being a senior player and an experienced player,” Gaikwad said.
“The kind of bowling they had, and the lines/lengths they bowled, it was challenging and I was enjoying it. Had to make sure that I’m staying calm. There was a lot of difference in the pitch during the second innings. If we got the same conditions, things could have been different. After 25 overs of our innings, the pitch eased out but we were always behind the game due to that start. We could have got to 300 or 320-330 if the surface was better from the start,” he added.
Gaikwad scored an unbeaten 220 against Uttar Pradesh in the quarterfinal of the domestic 50-over tournament. He scored 168 runs against Assam in the semi-finals, and completed a hat-trick of centuries in the final, scoring 108 off 131 balls.
Toss Played A Huge Factor – Ruturaj Gaikwad
Gaikwad went on to say that the wicket eased out when Saurashtra batted, so it was a good toss for them to win. The Maharashtra batters battled in the opening half of the first innings, and while not taking up many wickets, the Saurashtra spinners did not give runs.
“Obviously, toss played a huge factor as we were always behind in the game. It was a 70-30 advantage with the toss but credit to the Saurashtra bowlers, they bowled really well. Still, 248 in the first innings was a good total. You can lose wickets upfront sometimes on these pitches but I’m proud of my team for today and all through the tournament. We have a young team, many players are playing their first final and hopefully, they will all learn from this,” he concluded.