Stephen Fleming, Chennai Super Kings coach, mentioned that all-rounder Sam Curran was promoted at the top of the batting order to give CSK the much-needed momentum at the start of their innings as CSK defeated SRH by 20 runs after they failed to chase the target of 168.
CSK management decided to send Sam Curran as an opener instead of Shane Watson as they wanted to do something different by reshuffling the batting order. Pinch hitter Sam Curran accompanied Faf Du Plessis who unfortunately was out without troubling the scorers as Shane Watson batted at number 3.
Stephen Fleming: Sam Curran Opened As CSK Wanted Something Different
22-year-old Sam Curran scored 31 off 21 balls with 3 fours and 2 sixes to lay down the foundation for batsmen like Shane Watson who top-scored with 42 and Ambati Rayudu who scored 41. Sam Curran was out in the 5th over, but the score was already 35/2 with Sam Curran scoring bulk of the runs. He had a good outing with the ball too returning with figures of 1/18 in 3 overs.
Stephen Fleming said Sam Curran was promoted to give CSK momentum as the team wanted to do something different as they had lost quite a few consecutive matches in a similar trend.
“We have had Sam padded up for pretty much every innings looking to inject him at a certain time. That was the main reason behind sending Curran up the order. The trends of our losses were becoming similar so we needed to do something different. We just wanted to get Sam in the game, his training has been great and the decision was taken to give us momentum at the top,” said Fleming during the post-match press conference.
“Well, it was nice to bat first, it was the first time we batted first so we were not sure how we will go about it, we are so used to chasing and we were a little bit apprehensive. Our score was in line with the current scores in this tournament, tracks are getting a little bit slower and they are turning so we knew if we get Warner, Bairstow, and Williamson out cheaply, we have a good score,” he added.
Kane Williamson scored 57 off 39 balls but did not get support from the other batsmen as openers David Warner and Jonny Bairstow had an off day. SRH could only manage 147/8 in reply to CSK’s 167/6 which was largely due to Shane Watson’s 42 and Ambati Rayudu’s 41. MOM Ravindra Jadeja too contributed by playing a cameo by scoring an unbeaten 25 off 10 balls.
David Warner’s wicket was picked by Sam Curran early according to Stephen Fleming’s expectations, and Jonny Bairstow couldn’t bat for a long time too as Ravindra Jadeja bowled him. Stephen Fleming’s expectation of getting Kane Williamson out cheaply, however, could not be materialized as he scored 57.
Stephen Fleming: Move Of Playing An Extra Spinner Was Positive
Narayan Jagadeesan who scored 33 in the only match he played, was not considered for selection as CSK went in with an extra spinner Piyush Chawla, who bowled a solitary over conceding eight runs.
“The first decision was made to put Sam in, it meant that one from Shane or Faf had to move. Just in terms of experience, Shane was a lot of it, so he is very well equipped to take the attack in the second half of the innings. Faf is very good in going over the top early and Shane has a power game which is good for the latter part of the innings,” said Stephen Fleming.
Talking about this change, Fleming said: “Well, we have got some challenges around the balance of our squad which we are trying to work through. In terms of playing the extra spinner against SRH, we felt that the move was positive. If tracks continue to get slower, we have introduced another leg-spinner.”
CSK are now placed 6th of the points table with 3 wins and 5 losses while SRH are 5th placed with similar win-loss ratio but ahead with a superior run rate. Stephen Fleming, however, said there is still room for improvement if CSK wants to qualify for Playoffs which they have never failed in IPL history.