New Delhi: Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has weighed in on the formidable batting prowess of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK), singling out the opening duo of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway as potentially the best in the tournament.
Gavaskar’s observations come on the heels of a scintillating performance by Gaikwad and Conway in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, where they emerged as the top two run-scorers for the Chennai-based franchise. With Gaikwad’s aggressive right-handed strokes complementing Conway’s stylish left-handed finesse, the pair set the stage ablaze, consistently providing CSK with explosive starts. While the New Zealand southpaw amassed 672 runs at a strike rate of 139.70 in 16 matches, the Indian right-handed batter smashed 590 runs at a strike rate of 147.50 in as many games.
Reflecting on CSK’s batting might, Gavaskar said to Star Sports, “That’s been their advantage over the years. All these years, they have always had batters at the top who can take the attack to the opposition from the first ball itself, and then they have got the finishers as well.”
“I feel their left and right-handed opening combination of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway is probably the best opening pair in the IPL because they always gave good starts last year. So the pressure was slightly eased on the players who used to come at No. 4 and No. 5,” the former India captain added.
Gaikwad and Conway’s dynamic partnership proved to be the cornerstone of CSK’s success in IPL 2023, with several memorable stands that propelled the team to victory. Notably, their remarkable 141-run partnership against the Delhi Capitals underscored their ability to dominate even the most formidable bowling attacks. In addition to their explosive opening pair, Gavaskar highlighted CSK’s batting depth as a key asset in run chases. “For chasing, you need to have a lineup where someone can come at No. 7 as well and hit big sixes,” he emphasised.
The defending champion boasts a wealth of firepower in their middle order, with the likes of M.S Dhoni, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, and Ajinkya Rahane capable of turning the tide of any match with their aggressive stroke play. With Dhoni’s unparalleled finishing prowess, Dube’s explosive hitting, and Jadeja’s ability to deliver under pressure, CSK possesses a well-rounded batting lineup that strikes fear into the hearts of their opponents.
Dhoni and Dube had strike rates of 182.45 and 158.33, respectively, in IPL 2023. While Ravindra Jadeja scored his runs at a strike rate of 142.85, the usually circumspect Ajinkya Rahane too had a strike rate of 172.48. “You always think about scoring runs in T20 cricket, but chasing is also important. For chasing, you need to have a lineup where someone can come at No. 7 as well and hit big sixes. You have got an MS Dhoni and now they have got somebody like Shivam Dube batting at No. 3 or No. 4. He is a long hitter, and then Jadeja, look at the way he finished the finals. Deepak Chahar can also play the big shots. So clearly their batting is the least of their worries,” Gavaskar stated. IANS