“I knew that Conway would stay till the 15th over or just carry the innings till the 20th over,” Ruturaj Gaikwad
Despite losing out on bringing Faf du Plessis back to the CSK fold, the four-time winners have been clever enough to find a strong opening partner for Ruturaj Gaikwad this season while the Indian opener believed he had a role reversal in this partnership on the day he and Devon Conway passed Gaikwad and Du Plessis’ total of fifty-run partnerships.
Despite losing out on bringing Faf du Plessis back to the CSK fold, the four-time winners have been clever enough to find a strong opening partner for Ruturaj Gaikwad this season.
The Indian opener believed he had a role reversal in this partnership on the day he and Devon Conway passed Gaikwad and Du Plessis’ total of fifty-run partnerships.
“I think in 2021, if you look, Faf had many 30s, 40s, or 50s and he would just get out after 50s, and I mostly managed to score 70s, 80s, and 100. So I think when someone is attacking from the other end, you just have to make sure you stay till the 15th over,”Gaikwad said.
Gaikwad has been the batter this season who has taken more risks, while Conway has traditionally batted long. For Gaikwad, who increased his strike rate from 138.20 in 2021 to 146.88 this season, the change has been notable. He’s also faced far fewer deliveries than his opening partner compared to 2021.
The impact player rule, which has lengthened batting line-ups and increased the need for risk-taking, has also contributed to the change in intent. In such a scenario, Conway has come as the ideal partner at the top.
“This year I just felt that with the impact player rule, I had a good practice session about that mentality [playing shots early on and taking risks] as well for good 15-20 days. So I think when I thought I was going well, I knew that Conway would stay till the 15th over or just carry the innings till the 20th over. So I think I had the confidence in him just like Faf had in me in 2021,”Gaikwad said, doffing his hat to Conway for how well he has taken to the IPL straightaway.
“I think this year, thankfully and touchwood, Conway has been batting well… he has been carrying the innings till 15th over, so for me, it has been really easy to have that free mindset, keep up the intent knowing that if I get out a right-hander would be coming in (Rahane) and the right-hand-left-hand combination will carry on. So I think you sort of have trust in your partner and that is what happened this year,”he added.
Just nine evenings earlier, KKR defeated CSK at home in a game in which neither of the two lasted the distance and the CSK innings failed to get going. As they performed far better on a bigger night in the first qualifier, that outing led to recalibration and discussions about their batting.
“I would say after the KKR game, we just had a discussion that if we play in Chennai again, someone from the top three has to be there till the 10th, 12th, or 14th over so we keep on going or we just have the momentum and wickets in hand going into the last phase,”Gaikwad said.
“I think on good tracks when you have impact player rule as well, you have to keep going. But knowing that Delhi wicket [the venue for their game after KKR loss] was also slow, and if we would be qualifying, Chennai wicket is also slow, so I think somewhere one of us has to step up and one of us has to take a step back,”he added.
“I think last game Conway had a brilliant start in the Power Play so I was just knocking around. After a power play, we rotated the strike and I said I’ll take the charge. Even today, it was my day as I was getting boundaries somehow and I thought I’ll keep going and you [Conway] keep taking singles or doubles and we’ll make sure that you stay at least till the 10th, 12th, or 14th over and that’s exactly what happened.”