It would definitely be a gamble worth trying, especially considering the current state of affairs.
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) were dealt their second consecutive loss in the 13th edition of the IPL on 25th September 2020. Chasing a target of 176, the MS Dhoni-led side went down against Delhi Capitals by 44 runs.
Now, the question that needs to be asked is– Did CSK’s sluggish batting in the Powerplay overs lead them to their downfall in the match against Delhi Capitals?
CSK’s slow starts in the Powerplay
The required run rate for Chennai at the start of the chase in the game against Delhi Capitals was 8.80 runs per over. But then, the CSK openers scratched around and were struggling to ‘up the ante’. While Murali Vijay consumed 15 balls for his 10 runs, Watson scored a 16-ball 14. And, CSK’s score at the end of the Powerplay read 34/2.
That meant that the asking rate at the end of the Powerplay climbed up to 10.14 runs per over. This slow start hurt the Chennai side, as the other batsmen could not get time to even get their eye in.
In fact, after their loss to Delhi, this is what MS Dhoni had to say– “I don’t think it was a good game for us. We are lacking a bit of steam in the batting and that hurts. The run rate keeps on mounting after such slow starts and adds pressure, we need to figure that out. We need to come back with a clearer picture, looking at the combination. There are quite a few things we can think about. We are one batter extra to start off, so the players need to step up.”
In fact, even in their opening encounter against Mumbai Indians, Chennai could muster just 37 runs in the Powerplay overs. This is definitely a cause of concern for the ‘yellow brigade’, and it is an area that needs to be looked upon.
Why not try Sam Curran at the top?
One move that the Chennai side can opt for is, to try Sam Curran at the top of the order. Curran dazzled briefly with the willow in the first two games for CSK. While he scored a quickfire 6-ball 18 in the first game against Mumbai, the left-hander mustered a 6 ball 17 against Rajasthan Royals as well. Now, a pinch hitter like Curran is the ideal impetus that Chennai needs at the top of the order.
In fact, the Chennai side can take a cue from another team that has made a pinch hitter open the batting and has obtained rich dividends. The Kolkata Knight Riders have made Sunil Narine open the batting at the top of the order, and that move has worked for the two-time IPL champions.
Narine has provided the Kolkata outfit with some blistering starts at the top of the order. The left-hander has scored 706 runs opening the batting for Kolkata, but most importantly, he has scored them at a whopping strike rate of 181.49. The left-hander has also scored three fifties while opening the batting, and his whirlwind starts at the top of the order provides the ideal foundation for the other batsmen to follow.
The Chennai Super Kings have some firepower down the order, including the likes of MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja who can strike it big. But then, for them to be effective, the CSK side needs a good start at the top of the order. And that is why, the move to promote Curran to open the batting can prove to be very handy.
Curran can be given the license to go after the bowling right from the word ‘go’, with the field restrictions intact in the first six overs. Even if Curran fails to click, it is not going to be a major loss for CSK. But then, if he succeeds, it will give a huge impetus to their batting line up. Curran is definitely capable of striking some lusty blows, and if he can do so when the ball is new and hard, it would prove to be extremely handy for Chennai.
Will Dhoni pull this trick out of his bag?
The legendary MS Dhoni has been a man who has surprised the cricketing world with some extremely unconventional moves throughout his illustrious career. And, it would be very interesting to see if Dhoni can pull this trick out of his bag. It would definitely be a gamble worth trying, especially considering the current state of affairs for CSK.
Will we see Sam Curran walking out to open the batting? Well, we shall have to wait till CSK’s next game to find the answer.