Ruturaj Gaikwad pays Tribute to MS Dhoni on his birthday with a perfect 77

Ruturaj Gaikwad

On July 7, 2024, during India’s second T20I against Zimbabwe in Harare, Ruturaj Gaikwad stepped up to the crease. His bat spoke eloquently, crafting a brilliant innings—a tribute to his mentor and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) senior, MS Dhoni. The number 77, etched on the scoreboard, held deeper significance.

Ruturaj Gaikwad’s tribute knock

Ruturaj’s unbeaten 77 off 46 balls was no ordinary knock. It was a heartfelt birthday gift to Dhoni, whose birthday also falls on July 7. The alignment of numbers—both the date and the runs scored—made this innings truly special.

Ruturaj candidly shared that the initial 15 balls were tough. He didn’t find the middle of the bat. But he persevered, adapting to the challenging wicket. His partnership with Abhishek Sharma laid the foundation for India’s mammoth total of 234.

Ruturaj’s approach against spinners was exemplary. He maintained his shape while playing shots, navigating the two-paced pitch. Some balls skidded, while others held up. His mantra: stick to hard lengths, keep it simple, and aim for the top of off stump.

The Chennai Super Kings, known for their camaraderie, celebrated this special connection. Their tweet encapsulated it perfectly: “This Rutu-Thala Bond tho!”

In that innings, Ruturaj Gaikwad didn’t just score runs; he wove a tribute—a cricketing ode—to the man who donned the gloves, led the team, and inspired generations. As the sun set over Harare, the number 77 echoed across the field, bridging past and present, mentor and protege. MS Dhoni, the captain cool, would have surely smiled, appreciating the gesture from his CSK prodigy.