The move to promote Sam Curran as opener clicked as Chennai Super Kings posted a challenging total of 167 for 6 against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Dream11 Indian Premier League at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.
Curran, the bowling all-rounder, was sent as a pinch-hitter and he did exactly what was expected of him by slamming a quick-fire 31 off just 21 balls to provide Chennai Super Kings a rapid start.
Although, consistent scorer of the season Faf du Plessis failed to open his account as he was caught at the wicket off an inspired Sandeep Sharma, southpaw Curran in the company of Shane Watson added some crucial runs for the second wicket.
Curran struck three fours and two sixes before he was cleaned up by Sharma.
Ambati Rayudu then joined Watson, who played at the No. 3 spot instead of opener, to consolidate the innings. Both the experienced batsmen played sensibly to put on 81 runs partnership for the third wicket.
Rayudu (41: 34 balls, 3×4, 2×6) was looking good for another half-century but was held by David Warner off Khaleel Ahmed in the deep.
Watson followed him soon in the dugout after making 42 off 38 balls. The veteran hit three big sixes during his innings.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who opted to bat after winning the toss, displayed the glimpses of his old magic by playing a little cameo of 21 runs in 13 balls. The skipper, who is under tremendous pressure to perform with the bat, bludgeoned an awesome 102-metre long six to long-on but perished next
ball while trying to execute one more against Natarajan. The ball hit the bottom of the bat and lobbed to mid-off fielder Kane Williamson.
Ravindra Jadeja remained unbeaten on brisk 25 off 10 deliveries. The ace all-rounder walloped three fours and a six. In the last five overs, CSK scored 51 for the loss of four wickets.
All the three medium-pacers Sandeep Sharma, T Natarajan and Khaleel Ahmed bagged a couple of wickets each.
The last time the two teams met eleven days ago, Sunrisers Hyderabad won by seven runs but the margin of win doesn’t reflect the fact they outclassed the three-time champions quite strongly.
Both CSK and SRH come into this outing on the back of losses in their respective previous matches and can’t afford any further slip-up. After the first leg of seven ties, SRH have three victories as compared to the CSK’ two.
Chennai Super Kings 167 for 6 in 20 overs (Shane Watson 42, Ambati Rayudu 41, Sam Curran 31, Ravindra Jadeja 25 not out, MS Dhoni 21; Sandeep Sharma 2-19, T Natarajan 2-41, Khaleel Ahmed 2-45) vs Sunrisers Hyderabad.