Vijay Hazare: Ruturaj hits three tons in a row, makes strong case for S Africa ODIs

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Continuing his rich vein of form, Maharashtra’s Ruturaj Gaikwad on Saturday smashed his third consecutive hundred in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021-22 tournament, making a strong case for selection in India squad for three-match ODI series in South Africa.

Ruturaj, who is also leading Maharashtra, slammed 124 off 129, with nine boundaries and three sixes against Kerala at the Madhavrao Scindia Cricket Ground in Rajkot on Saturday.

Earlier in the tournament, the opener had smashed 136 from just 112 balls and 154 in 143 balls against Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh, respectively.

The 24-year-old now has 414 runs to his name in three innings and with every passing game, he is making his case even stronger for the upcoming South Africa ODI series, for which the squad hasn’t been picked. He is one of the contenders in the top-order.

Gaikwad, who opens for Chennai Super Kings, had an Orange Cap winning performance the IPL 2021, amassing 635 runs in MS Dhoni led side’s run to the fourth title in the UAE. He also was among the four players to be retained by CSK along with MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja and Moeen Ali ahead of the mega IPL auction.

The selectors had also rewarded his IPL performance by picking him in the India squad for home T20I series against New Zealand. However, he didn’t get the opportunity to play any game in that series.

Meanwhile, Gaikwad needs another century in the tournament to join an elite list of batters who have hit 4 hundreds in the domestic 50-over tournament — Virat Kohli, Devdutt Padikkal and Prithvi Shaw.

Notably, Padikkal became the only batter to hit four successive hundreds in a single season of Vijay Hazare Trophy – a feat that Ruturaj can emulate if he gets a ton against Uttarakhand in their fourth match on Sunday.

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