Chennai Super Kings did not have the best of seasons in 2020. The perennial title contenders were the first team to crash out of the race for the Indian Premier League 2020 playoffs as they suffered their eighth loss. It is for the first time that CSK have failed to get into the top-four in their history. But there have been some positives that have come out in the last few matches.

Ruturaj Gaikwad was touted as one of the players that could provide a boost to the ageing CSK batting line-up. After some initial struggle, he has found his groove. Gaikwad has scored back-to-back fifties to power his side to victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders.

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His performances have greatly impressed CSK coach Stephen Fleming, who thinks he is the right player for CSK.

CSK dented Kolkata Knight Riders’ chances of advancing to the knockouts with a six-wicket win here on Thursday. The three-time champions have just one game left to play in the competition after a disastrous early run put paid to their prospects of moving ahead.

Fleming was lavish in his praise for Gaikwad who shone in the win with a 72-run knock, displaying the spark that skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni did not see in the younger bunch of the side.

“He has done well in the last couple of games. We’re happy that he’s taken the opportunity. We look back at the missed opportunities when he got COVID-19. He missed out the pre-season, he came back after about 4-5 weeks in isolation,” Fleming recalled.

“We tried to get him involved but he was a long way from being ready. So we’re just happy now to create the opportunity and he has shown us that he’s the right player,” he added.

Fleming also lauded Gaikwad’s timing and described him as a very fluent player.

“He has got lovely timing, a very fluent player. It allows him to hit the ball in the gaps, a lot of power for a small guy.

“His net sessions in Chennai before we arrived here were outstanding and we’re disappointed that he had to miss the first two or three weeks with us,” the former New Zealand captain added.

CSK captain M S Dhoni had also hailed Gaikwad after the match on Thursday and said he was one of the most talented players around.

(with PTI inputs)