IPL 2021: 'Can help him but don't think he needs me' - du Plessis predicts 'bright future' for Orange Cap winner Gaikwad
Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad emerged as the top two leading run-getters of IPL 2021. While Gaikwad finished the tournament with the most runs, having scored 635 runs, becoming the youngest player ever to win the Orange Cap at 24 years and 257 days, du Plessis looked set to surpass him but narrowly missed out by two runs. Not that it matters to either as Chennai Super Kings won the IPL for a fourth time with a 27-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders.
Du Plessis set the tone of the match, scoring his sixth half-century of the season and top-scoring for the team with 86. He and Gaikwad added yet another half-century this season and third in three games against KKR. While Gaikwad walked away with the Orange Cap, his partner du Plessis was proud of him, backing the 24-year-old to have a great future ahead.
"That was a great day. I am really grateful for today. It was also my 100th game in the IPL. I have loved my time here. I have done almost ten years here - two seasons were a bit of a break. No. 4 in the trophy cabinet is really good. Gaikwad is a special talent. Indian cricket is blessed with talent. He is getting better. He's got a super, bright future ahead of him. I can have a word with him, share a few things that may help him but I don't think he needs me," du Plessis said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Having played just six games last year – his debut season in the IPL – scoring 204 runs, Gaikwad kept getting better as the IPL 2021 came around. He started the tournament as an uncapped player, but finished it having represented India. And that confidence was visible in his batting. With a century – the first of the UAE leg, and four fifties, Gaikwad has been tipped to become one of the next big things in Indian cricket, and the winner of the Orange Cap was extremely pleased with his effort.
"It is top of the moon feeling to win the orange cap and win the IPL. It is very very satisfying to win the IPL. It feels great. We didn't have a great season. Coming here, everyone believed and we are here. When you are performing well, you are confident on your lesser risk shots. You need to make sure you are there till the end," Gaikwad said.