Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 started on Saturday (September 19) with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) defeating the defending champions Mumbai in Abu Dhabi.
During Chennai’s innings when Ambati Rayudu was dismissed for 71 after adding 115 runs for the second wicket with Faf du Plessis, the MS Dhoni-led side still needed 42 off 24 balls.
At that time everyone thought that either Kedar Jadhav or Dhoni, one of the two specialist batsmen, would come out at No. 5, but everyone was left surprised when Ravindra Jadeja came out to bat. Dhoni decided to send in Jadeja because he went in favour of a right-hand-left-hand batting combination to create trouble for the Mumbai Indians bowlers. Dhoni’s gamble paid off as Jadeja scored 10 runs in James Pattinson’s 17th over.
After Jadeja’s dismissal in the 18th over, Dhoni once again stunned everyone by sending in Sam Curran, who hit two sixes and a four off his first five balls before being dismissed by Bumrah with ten balls to go.
“At some point, I thought we needed to give Jadeja and someone like Sam [Curran] to go ahead in the batting order and express themselves. They still had two spinners remaining, and we tried to intimidate the bowler a bit, it was just a psychological aspect. We know we bat quite deep, and wanted them to go after the bowler. If you clear one or two [sixes], then it is easier for the batsmen to follow,” Dhoni said after the match.
Curran admitted that he was also left “surprised” by Dhoni’s move. “I was actually really excited when I was coming to [the] Chennai [team]. Haven’t met a lot of guys, straight on the bus, haven’t had much to think, landed two days ago [from the England-Australia series] and straight out there to do what I do. To be honest, very surprised I went in [at No. 6] but he’s a genius, he obviously thought something. Great win in the end. I think [left-right combination was his plan]. That [18th over from Pandya] was the over we wanted to target – a six or out approach mentality. Take the risk, and if it comes off it comes off, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t,” Curran said.