Chasing 179 to win, opener Shubman Gill’s 36-ball 63 and a collective batting performance by GT batters overshadowed Gaikwad’s 92 in a five-wicket win in the season opener played in Ahmedabad on Friday.
Pandya said if Gaikwad had not got out after scoring 92 runs, Chennai would have ended up posting a total of 220-230.
“At one point, it looked like CSK would score 220-230. We were finding it difficult on what area we should bowl at Ruturaj. I genuinely felt that today we could not get him out at all. Some of the shots that he played were not (on) bad balls; he was punishing the good balls as well. As a bowling unit and as a captain, that made my job more difficult,” Pandya said at a post-match press conference.
The opener will work “wonders” for Indian cricket, according to Pandya, if he maintains this kind of form.
“Some of the shots Rutu played was nothing to do with the bowling. He played some outrageous shots. Full credit to him the way he batted and if he continues to do so he is going to do wonders for Indian cricket. He has the game and I am sure when the time comes, Indian cricket team will back him enough,” he said.
Pandya expressed satisfaction with the team’s performance while also noting that they were not at their best.
“Obviously very good to start with the win. A couple of shots from myself and Shubman put us in a difficult situation but again Rahul (Tewatia) brought the best out of his ability and then Rashid (Khan) came in and showed what he can do. We can learn quite a things from this victory,” Pandya said.
Wriddhiman Saha (25 off 16) and Gill fired on all the cylinders right from the very first ball.
Gujarat needed 41 from their final five overs, but CSK were able to keep the game close. To calm the tension in the Gujarat locker room, Rashid slammed a quickfire unbeaten 10 off 3 deliveries.
“We weren’t surprised with what Rashid did. We expected this from Rashid. We show a lot of trust and confidence in his batting and he has shown it again and again,” added Pandya.
(With agency inputs)