Chennai Super Kings faced Sunrisers Hyderabad in their 8th match of the season in an extremely crucial game. Another loss against the Sunrisers could have ended their playoff hopes. The Chennai captain MS Dhoni threw arguably the last dice in his sleeves when he asked Sam Curran, primarily a bowler to open the innings for the side. Curran stabilized the innings after early fall of Faf Du Plessis who has been a pivotal figure in the side’s batting this year. His quick-fire 31 runs set the tempo of the game and earned a victory for CSK’s team. The decision to send Sam Curran up the order proved a masterstroke. However, this wasn’t the first time when any bowler was asked to open. Let us look at some other instances when a bowlers was asked to open the innings in IPL.
The English batsman who was the hero for Chennai Super Kings against Sunrisers Hyderabad has donned the openers cap before as well. The player opened the innings for Kings XI Punjab in his debut IPL season. The player was asked to open in his second match. He managed to score 20 runs off 10 balls. However, he was later discontinued as an opener.
The Uttar Pradesh batsman was known for his explosive innings as an opener in the domestic circuit. During 2009, when he was a part of RCB squad, he was asked to open the innings by skipper Anil Kumble. The player opened the innings against Delhi Daredevils and hit the legendary Glenn McGrath in 2009. However, he could not perform as expected as an opener and flopped against Chennai Super Kings in the next game. That was the end of this aggressive experiment by the Royal Challengers Management.
Ravichandran Ashwin is more than an able batsman. He has scored a couple of centuries for the national team and is highly regarded for his batting technique. He was promoted to open the innings in 2013 against KKR by MS Dhoni. However, he could not perform as per the expectation and was bowled out after scoring 11 runs. He hasn’t opened the innings since then.
Sunil Narine is inarguably the biggest success story of this experiment. Sunil Narine is one of the few bowlers who opened the batting and found considerate success. He was first asked to open the innings by the KKR management against Kings XI Punjab in 2017. His unorthodox shots and ability to clear the inner circle in powerplays made him a potent opener. Narine continued as an opener for four seasons and was dropped in 2020 after KKR found better options in Shubhman Gill and Rahul Tripathi.
Jofra Archer usually a lower-order batsman. However, he is capable of playing a few lofty hits when needed. Therefore, he could prove to be a useful player when the teams are looking to chase big totals. Rajasthan Royals used him against Royal Challengers Bangalore in one such game while chasing a large total. Looking for a few quick runs, Archer went out for zero against an in-form Umesh Yadav. He hasn’t opened the innings since then.
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