Uttar Pradesh captain Karan Sharma gave the ball to left spinner Shiva Singh in the 49th over of Maharashtra’s innings. At 272/5, and Ruturaj Gaikwad hitting 165 off 147 balls, Maharashtra’s outright target was to pass the 300-run mark in the quarter-finals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy. They did, and it only took Gaikwad five to deliver the number.
In the 49th innings, the elegant right-hander unleashed carnage as he hit seven consecutive left-arm sixes and became the first player in limited overs cricket to rack up 43 runs in the over. One of the deliveries was a no-ball and both the free kick and the ball were deposited into the stands by the skipper of the song. From 165 off 147 balls, Gaikwad raced to 207 off 154 balls, taking Maharashtra’s total to 315/5 after 49 balls.
Read also: The broken records of Ruturaj Gaekwad v. UP
He didn’t stop there and collected a few more sixes from Kartik Tyagi in his 50 over game. The innings ended at 330/5 and Gaikwad remained unbeaten on 220 off 159 balls (10 fours and 16 sixes). If everything is top notch, accuracy vs. speed, Gaikwad has been pretty hard on UP spinners. Directly over the bowler’s head was his favorite spot, and as the course became flat and predictable in the last few overs, the captain didn’t mind widening the range towards the mid-wicket area.
UP had a pace option to use against Gaikwad on the 49th as both Shivam Mavi and Ankit Rajpoot left. They went towards the spin and Gaikwad made most of the seven deliveries of a left arm spin which he caught. Shiva is a very skilled bowler but everything he tried today went to the stands. Standing at mid and leg, Gaikwad ensured he kept his range under control and repeated drill ball after ball.
Shiva went slowly, firing into the pads, pushing the length back a bit and even changed the angle (coming over the wicket), but nothing worked with the spinner as Gaikwad continued to connect, and continued to connect well.
There were handshakes all around as Gaikwad walked back to the hut after the innings. UP Karan captain, big bowler Ankit was the first of the few to congratulate Gaikwad who quietly wallowed in applause and went straight to the dressing room where his teammates stood clapping on the edge of the boundary ropes.
The 25-year-old missed most of the Vijay Hazare Trophy due to injury, and in his two matches earlier in the group stage he came back with scores of 124* against Railways and 40 against Bengal. He featured in the all-important quarters against a formidable UP side, with a powerful bowling attack, and was delivered. In a list that includes the likes of Ankit Rajput, Shivam Mavi, Kartik Tyagi, Gaikwad and Kev!
Great white ball run
Before injury paused Vijay Hazare, Gaikwad was singing in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy as well where he scored two hundreds (114 against Kerala and 112 against Services). He had the highest number of hundreds in the tournament and finished with 295 runs in just five innings at a healthy average of 59 and scored a very impressive batting average of 146.76.
In the recent Vijay Hazare Trophy, Gaikwad made four hundreds in five innings and finished the tournament as the highest run-down bowler with 603 runs at an average of 150.75. Runs continue to come at a very steady rate from his bat and it’s only a matter of time before he finds his way back into India’s set of fifty.