Sam Curran shined on the opening night of the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League, as Chennai Super Kings registered a five-wicket win over Mumbai Indians. Curran shined with both, ball and bat, taking a wicket of the dangerous-looking Quinton de Kock and slamming 18 runs off just six balls at a crucial juncture of the game.
He was named the man of the match for his all-round performance. Curran said that he was "surprised" when he was asked to bat at number six, labelling MS Dhoni a "genius."
"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," Curran said in the post-match presentation.
"To be honest, very surprised I went in at number six but he's a genius, he obviously thought something. Great win in the end. I think the left-right combination was his plan. The 18th over from Krunal 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."
Explaining his decision to send Ravindra Jadeja and Curran ahead of himself, Dhoni said that he wanted to intimidate the bowler on "psychological aspect."
"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 had said.
Apart from Curran, Ambati Rayudu (71 off 48 deliveries) and Faf du Plessis (unbeaten 58 off 44 deliveries) also shined with the bat, while Lungi Ngidi (3 wickets) and Ravindra Jadeja (2 wickets) were among the leading wicket-takers of the game.