New Delhi: Rituraj Gaikwad played a sensational innings of unbeaten 123 runs against Australia in the Guwahati T20 on Sunday. The young opener guided India to a massive total of 222 for 3 wickets at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium. Gaikwad’s knock was his first T20 International century, and also the first by any Indian against Australia in the shortest format. He surpassed the previous best of 122 not out by Virat Kohli against West Indies in 2016.
Gaikwad completed his century by hitting a six off Glenn Maxwell in the 19th over of the innings. He celebrated his milestone by raising his bat and helmet to the crowd and his teammates. He received a standing ovation from the dressing room and a hug from his partner Hardik Pandya. Gaikwad faced 57 balls and hit 13 fours and 7 sixes in his innings, with a strike rate of 215.78.
Gaikwad’s century was also special because it came exactly a year after he had scored a double century against Uttar Pradesh in the quarter-finals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy. On November 28, 2022, Gaikwad scored 204 not out of 156 balls and also made a world record by hitting 7 sixes in one over.
Gaikwad accelerated after a slow start and scored 30 runs in the last over
Gaikwad had a slow start to his innings, as he scored only 22 runs off his first 22 balls. He was cautious against the Australian pace attack of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazlewood, who bowled with discipline and accuracy. He also lost his opening partner Shubman Gill, who was dismissed for 18 runs in the sixth over.
However, Gaikwad changed gears after the powerplay and started to attack the Australian spinners and medium pacers. He found the gaps and the boundaries with ease and also cleared the ropes with power and timing. He shared a 72-run partnership with captain Rohit Sharma, who scored 41 runs off 28 balls. He then added 98 runs with Hardik Pandya, who scored 35 runs off 14 balls.
Gaikwad was unstoppable in the death overs, as he scored 30 runs off the last over bowled by Glenn Maxwell. He hit four sixes and a four in the over and took India past the 200-run mark. He remained unbeaten till the end and helped India post a daunting total for Australia to chase.
Gaikwad impressed with his technique and temperament
Gaikwad impressed everyone with his technique and temperament in his innings. He played with a straight bat and a calm mind and did not lose his composure even after the early wicket of Gill. He rotated the strike and picked the right balls to hit. He also showed his versatility and adaptability, as he played according to the situation and the pitch.
Gaikwad also displayed his range of shots and his ability to play against different types of bowlers. He played the cut, the pull, the drive, and the sweep with confidence and elegance. He also used his feet and his wrists to hit the spinners and the slower bowlers. He was especially harsh on Maxwell, whom he hit for five sixes and a four in his two overs.
Gaikwad’s century was a testament to his talent and potential, which he has shown in the domestic circuit and the Indian Premier League (IPL). He has been a consistent performer for Maharashtra and Chennai Super Kings and has scored runs in all formats. He has also been praised by his captain and mentor MS Dhoni, who has backed him to succeed at the international level.
Gaikwad’s century was also a historic achievement, as he became the first Indian to score a hundred against Australia in T20 International cricket. He also became the second Indian to score a hundred in T20 International cricket, after Shubman Gill, who scored an unbeaten 126 against New Zealand in 2022. Gaikwad also became the ninth Indian to score a hundred in T20 International cricket, joining the likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, and Shubman Gill.