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Social media wrap for the week – From Gaikwad and Mandhana’s tons to Dhoni’s finish

In a cricket-crazy country like India, Twitter is always abuzz with news from the sport. But even more so when the Indian Premier League is on. From criticism on a bad performance to praises on a good performance, social media is always buzzing. Let’s check out what made news from the week gone by and how Twitter reacted to it.

Ruturaj Gaikwad’s maiden IPL century

Chennai Super Kings opener Ruturaj Gaikwad slammed his first Indian T20 League century against the Rajasthan Royals on October 3 and also stayed unbeaten in the entirety of his side’s innings. Gaikwad, who plays for Maharashtra in domestic cricket, scored a 101 off just 60 balls, hitting 9 fours and 5 sixes. This batman has showed remarkable consistency this season, despite starting the tournament on a string of poor scores. Gaikwad scored 5, 5 and 10 in his first three innings of IPL 2021, while the scores from his last 9 outings are 64, 33, 75, 4, 88*, 38, 40, 45 and 101*. He is now also the highest run-scorer in the on-going season.

Smriti Mandhana creates a new record

Indian women’s cricket team batter Smriti Mandhana scripted history on October 2 when she became the first Indian woman to score a Test century in Australia. Mandhana is now also the only second Indian after Virat Kohli to slam a ton in a day-night Test. After ending the opening day at 131 for one of Mandhana and her overnight batting partner Punam Raut resumed batting on day two. The elegant southpaw notched up her hundred with a short-arm pull shot off Ellyse Perry in the 52nd over the day. Mandhana hit 22 boundaries and a maximum in her 216-ball 127 and also broke England’s Molly Hide’s record for the highest Test score by a visiting player in Australia. 

Eoin Morgan’s poor returns with the bat

Skipper of the Kolkata Knight Riders has also been his team’s worst performer this season. In his five outings in UAE, Eoin Morgan has only 19 runs and he wasn’t quite productive in the first leg of the tournament either. In all, Morgan has only 111 runs in 13 games this season at an average of 11.10 and strike rate of 100.90. While fans want Morgan to drop himself ahead of the upcoming crucial games, Kevin Pietersen believes that no sportsperson can remain in a purple patch all the time and that people need to cut the KKR leader some slack.

MS Dhoni finishes off in style

MS Dhoni and last ball sixes have been one of cricket’s greatest love stories over the past two decades. And while we have not seen Dhoni finish too many games in the last couple of years, his recent last ball six in the IPL sent fans down the memory lane. Chasing 135 to win against the Sunrisers Hyderabad on October 1, Chennai needed three runs in the final over with Ambati Rayudu giving the strike to Dhoni. The former India captain sent the fourth delivery off Siddharth Kaul for a maximum to not only take Chennai over the line but also help them become the first team this season to qualify for the playoffs.

Chris Gayle pulls out of IPL 2021

West Indies and Punjab Kings batsman Chris Gayle pulled out of IPL 2021 citing bubble fatigue as the reason, and he will now shift his focus on the T20 World Cup scheduled for later this month. The rumour mill, however, isn’t satisfied with the reason given by Gayle, and news has it that the batsman pulled out of the tournament because of not being given enough chances to bat by the Punjab management. Noted cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle, however, has stood by Gayle’s side, saying that bio-bubble can wear out anyone’s patience.

CSK make it to the playoffs for 11th time in 12 seasons

Chennai, which finished seventh in the points table in IPL 2020 after losing eight of the 14 league games, made a remarkable turnaround in 2021 to become the first team to quality for the knockouts. Chennai have played 12 editions of the IPL, reaching the finals in all of them except last year. They have won nine of their 11 games in IPL 2021 to take their win percentage to 81.8, which is the highest for any IPL team in the tournament’s history.

Shahrukh Khan beats Shah Rukh Khan’s team

Middle order batsman Shahrukh Khan, playing his first game of the UAE leg, slammed 22 off 9 balls against KKR last week to help Punjab Kings beat Shah Rukh Khan co-owned KKR by five wickets and stay afloat in the competition. Twitter couldn’t stop talking about how the Bollywood actor’s team was outdone by his namesake.

A young Rajasthan Royals team guns down 190

Helped by Ruturaj Gaikwad’s unbeaten 101, Chennai posted 189 against a struggling Rajasthan Royals on October 2. But the Sanju Samson led side put up a good fight on a batting friendly surface to chase down the target in only 17.3 overs. The standout performers were Mumbai batsmen Yashasvi Jaiswal (21-ball 50) and Shivam Dube (42-ball 62). Yashasvi, especially, showed remarkable composure against the three-time champions and had former cricketers in awe of him. With that win, Royals are still hoping to make it to the playoffs.

Venkatesh Iyer – KKR’s newfound hero

Not many might have known who Venkatesh Iyer was before IPL 2021’s second leg. And now the all-rounder from Madhya Pradesh is all over the news. Iyer scored an unbeaten 41 on his IPL debut and carried on with the form in the next few games, which includes two half-centuries. In six matches, the opening batsman averages 40.20 and has also picked up three wickets, playing a crucial role in KKR still being in the race for the playoffs. It is expected that Iyer will be sold for big bucks in the mega auctions for next year.

Also read: Indian T20 League 2021 Match 47: CHN vs RAJ talking points

Umaima Saeed
A writer who primarily writes on cricket. As of 2021, she has covered cricket for more than a dozen publications.

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