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Maharashtra run machine Ruturaj Gaikwad scored a second successive hundred in as many days to lead his team to a thumping eight-wicket win over Chhattisgarh in a Group D match of the Vijay Hazare Trophy here on Thursday.
The Maharashtra skipper on Wednesday left the job unfinished getting out for 136 in their high scoring chase against Madhya Pradesh, but this time he paced his innings beautifully on way to an unbeaten 143-ball 154 and hunt down 277 with three overs to spare.
The 24-year-old smashed five sixes and 14 boundaries and was in total control of the chase, making him a strong prospect for a debut call up in the upcoming ODI series in South Africa.
Gaikwad also got some support from his opening partner Yash Nahar (52) as the duo laid the foundation with a 120-run opening partnership before Naushad Shaikh (37) extended a crucial 94-run mid innings stand.
Gaikwad and Naushad dissected the field with ease and never allowed the Chhattisgarh bowlers to settle down as in no time they brilliantly accelerated their chase.
Chhattisgarh legspinner Shubham Agarwal bore the brunt of Gaikwad's fury conceding 54 runs from his six overs.
Gaikwad stepped out to Agarwal over long on to notch up his second successive hundred in 105 balls and sealed the chase with another six against the same bowler en route to surpassing the 150-mark.
Gaikwad has been in the form of his life and was the top rungetter in the IPL 2021 scoring 635 runs with four fifties and a century to be instrumental in Chennai Super Kings' fourth triumph.
He also surpassed KL Rahul's tally of 626 runs to become the youngest batter to clinch the Orange Cap as he continued his sizzling form into the recently-concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, scoring three successive half-centuries.
He however missed the knockout leg of the domestic T20s after being named in India's T20I squad against New Zealand where he did not get to play a single game.
Earlier on a placid SCA Stadium pitch, Chhattisgarh were restricted to a below-par 275/7 after Gaikwad opted to field.
In another match, Venkatesh Iyer, who made his T20I debut in the recent home series versus New Zealand, scored his all-round skills to script Madhya Pradesh's facile 40-run win over Kerala here.
Batting at No 4, Venkatesh first smashed a 84-ball 112 (7x4, 4x6) and in an entertaining 169-run partnership with Shubham Sharma (82 from 67 balls; 9x4, 1x6) to take them 329/9 after they were put in by Kerala skipper Sanju Samson.
In reply, Kerala were bowled out for 289 in 49.4 overs with Venkatesh bagging 3/55, while Puneet Datey claimed 4/59.
Brief Scores: Chhattisgarh 275/7; 50 overs (Amandeep Khare 82, Shashank Singh 63; Mukesh Choudhary 4/67) lost to Maharashtra 276/2; 47 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 154 not out, Yash Nahar 52, Naushad Shaikh 37, Rahul Tripathi 23 not out) by eight wickets.
16 Madhya Pradesh 329/9; 50 overs (Venkatesh Iyer 112, Shubham Sharma 82, Rajat Patidar 49, Abhishek Bhandari 49) Kerala 289; 49.4 overs (Rohan Kunnummal 66, Sachin Baby 66; Puneet Datey 4/59, Venkatesh 3/55) by 40 runs.
Chandigarh 269/9; 50 overs (Sarul Kanwar 97, Ankit Kaushik 55, Arjit Pannu 46; Agrim Tiwari 3/51) lost to Uttarakhand 270/7; 49.2 overs (Jay Bista 68, Kamal Singh 59; Yuvraj Chaudhary 3/48) by three wickets.
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