Ruturaj Gaikwad, from the yellow of CSK to the yellow of Maharashtra, continues to be in red-hot batting form.

Gaikwad churned out a third century on the trot but this time around the Maharashtra skipper’s effort came in a losing cause as his team went down to Kerala by four wickets in their group D clash of the Vijay Hazare Trophy in Rajkot on Saturday.

Continuing his blistering form, the Maharashtra opener slammed 124 from 129 balls to help Maharashtra recover from some early jitters when they lost two wickets for 22 inside six overs.

Gaikwad hit nine fours and three sixes and got out to debutant seamer Suresh Vishweshar in the 46th over while trying to step up the run-rate. It cost them dear as Maharashtra managed just 42 runs in the final-five to notch a below-par 291/8 in the stipulated 50 overs.

On Gaikwad’s day, it was Kerala seamer M D Nidheesh who stole the show with a stunning 5/49 including the vital breakthrough of the dangerous Rahul Tripahi, who fell one run shy of century.

Earlier in the tournament, Gaikwad started off where he left off in the IPL and then Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, by smashing two centuries in two run-chases for Maharashtra. In the tournament opener against Madhya Pradesh, he scored a 112-ball 136 with 14 fours and four sixes. Maharashtra chased an imposing 329 down with two balls to spare.

In the second match, also in a run-chase, Gaikwad saw off the matter with an unbeaten 154 off 143 balls with 14 fours and five sixes against Chhattisgarh.

Ruturaj Gaikwad in VJH so far

Maharashtra vs Kerala 124 11-Dec-2021 Rajkot List A
Maharashtra vs Chhattisgarh 154* 09-Dec-2021 Rajkot List A
Maharashtra vs M. Pradesh 136 08-Dec-2021 Rajkot List A

Gaikwad was also in solid touch during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Tournament, finishing in the top 10 run-scorers list. And before that of course, he was the Orange Cap winner of IPL 2021 for being the top run-getter in Chennai Super Kings’s title-winning campaign.

Ruturaj Gaikwad recent form

Tournament Runs Matches (inns) Highest Ave SR 100s /50s
SMAT (T20) 259 5 (5) 81 51.80 149.71 0 / 3
IPL 2021 (T20) 635 16 (16) 101 45.35 136.26 1 / 4

Gaikwad, who finished IPL 2020 strongly and carried his form over both the legs of IPL 2021, was one of the four players to be retained by CSK ahead of a major reset for franchises.

Leading run-scorers after 3 games in VJH Trophy

Player Team Runs Mat Inns HS Avg SR 100 50
R D Gaikwad  MHCA 414 3 3 154* 207.00 107.81 3 0
C G Khurana  MECA 267 3 3 117* 133.50 81.40 2 1
Shubham Sharma  MPCA 260 3 3 108 86.67 106.55 1 2
B B Ghosh  TCA 254 3 3 127* 254.00 86.39 2 0
Samit Gohil  TCA 254 3 3 135 84.67 83.55 1 1

You can watch highlights of Gaikwad’s first century of the tournament here and second century here.

With PTI inputs