Kolkata v Chennai, IPL 2013, Kolkata April 20, 2013

'Ashwin's role was to get us a quick start' - Hussey

ESPNcricinfo staff

Chennai Super Kings, thanks to a blitz from Ravindra Jadeja, staged another late recovery to chase down a target in the IPL, on Saturday against Kolkata Knight Riders. That target of 120 was not a big one, though, and had they failed to knock it off, there would have been many questions around why they had chosen to open their innings with R Ashwin.

While Super Kings have been searching for right combination at the top all through this tournament, with M Vijay struggling and S Anirudha falling for a duck when given a chance, promoting Ashwin - who has a top score of 11 in the IPL - hardly seemed the answer. He managed to get away a couple of neat fours through the leg side - flicked and swept - but could not give Super Kings the quick runs they wanted of him on the sluggish track. That, according to Michael Hussey, was the idea behind sending him out to open.

"I think Ashwin's role was to try and get us off to a quick start, look to take advantage of the first six overs and he had a licence to tee off. He hit a couple of good boundaries but, as it can happen in T20 cricket, you can get out anytime," Hussey told the IPL site. "I think there was pressure all the way through, because it was a difficult surface to bat on. It was almost a case of if you play properly, try and work the ones and twos, it can be very difficult to score; but if you try and tee off it might just work."

Given the nature of the track, Hussey said, Super Kings were not complacent about the target. "Kolkata is always a tough place to play; the pitch is always slow and low with less bounce, and we knew even 120 or 130 could be a defendable total here," he said. "And I think the bowlers are becoming a lot smarter, so the scores over the whole competition have been a little bit lower than normal. But thankfully some late hitting from 'Sir' Jadeja got us over the line again."

Hussey batted through to the 17th over, scoring 40 off 51 - the slowest score of 40 or more overall in the IPL - and when he got out, Super Kings needed 31 off 19. Jadeja slammed 36 off 14 to take them home with five balls to spare. "Obviously you needed one person to try and bat through the innings and have the other guy try and hit around," Hussey said. "But I guess it was easier when I got out. I was struggling to hit the ball very far and thankfully Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo finished the job for us. We have got a lot of power hitters in our line-up and we always have it in the back of our mind that they could get us home."

Knight Riders' offspinning pair of Sunil Narine and Sachithra Senanayake, who conceded 38 runs between them in eight overs, were expectedly hard to get away Hussey said: "You can pick both of them, but it is still difficult to play them. They know where they are landing the ball and the Kolkata surface is sort of helpful for them as well. It is very difficult to play them here."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Matrix on April 22, 2013, 11:36 GMT

    Ashwin is totally unsuitable for opening in T20. He is a sluggish player. He may have the talent but he lacks fire in the belly and is averse to taking risks which is what is needed at the top. In my opinion its not Ashwin's fault that he did not fulfill the role he was told to do but the coach's for putting him for such a role. ONe could have chosen Bravo instead or even Chris Morris would have done the job better. Poor choices make poor batting and eventual loss of a match !

  • Kannan on April 22, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    Hussey is not an explosive hitter. He can build partnerships and improves his strike rate once he crosses 30. Vijay can hit, but he is too afraid of failing and consequently fails. He can't lead the scoring. He likes to play second fiddle like he did to Pujara in the Tests. Therefore he's unfit to open with a person like Hussey. If Vijay MUST play then he needs to open with Faf... followed by Raina, Dhoni, Jadeja and Hussey. Faf is aggressive, a leader and as a partner will give the self-doubting Vijay to play on without a brain-freeze! Badri has today given an interview to TOI where he has stated that he would like to play at No4! The temerity!.. when he bats at a strike rate of 120! Drop him I say!

  • Kannan on April 22, 2013, 5:11 GMT

    I think Badri, Vijay, Bravo and Morkel need to be kept out of the CSK team. Badri cannot strike at more than 120, Vijay is too inconsistent, Morkel very bad on economy and Bravo can't be trusted to bowl an economical over after the 15th. CSK needs to open with Faf and Hussey, followed by Raina, Dhoni and Jadeja. From the existing bowlers Ashwin, Nannes , Moris and Mohit can be considered. This accounts for 9. The balance 2 should be filled with 2 Indians, one batsman (who can strike at 150+ and one fast bowler (who can be economical). I am quite certain that with Faf and Hussey the CSK will get a great start ( a good partnership at a healthy strike rate) 8 out of 10 times and that's good enough.

  • Dummy4 on April 22, 2013, 4:59 GMT

    It was one of the Worst decision made in IPL history by CSK. Everyone know Ashwin is not a slogger and though having 9 proper batsmen they send him to Slog..Whats the use of having morkel or morris or Bravo?? I am a die hard fan of CSK but hate their Conservative approach to the game.They are the least exciting team in the IPL.With such a team they can show sheer dominance but they always struggle to chase any score..Let it be chasing 100 runs of 200 runs they end up 50 in first ten yet loosing 2-3 wickets...

  • Sanath on April 22, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    This may also be due to the innings where he scored 91 notout against england on this very ground where all the top order indian batsmen struggled. http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/565808.html

  • Raj on April 22, 2013, 3:22 GMT

    At the end of KKRs innings Ashwin walked upto Dhoni and casually asked him if he can open. Dhoni told him to go ahead. There was no strategy and no thinking behind the move. The tv replays will reveal the same.

  • joseph on April 22, 2013, 2:55 GMT

    Wonder with this stratergy, Team comprises of nearly 7-8 international batsman, Yet Ashwin has been choosen. Had this has been lost CSK would have been trashed from all corners. Chasing a modest total, only CSK can take this hard.

  • Prashant on April 21, 2013, 20:52 GMT

    I think this was a good game and time to experiment with. It was a well-below par score, and it is still early in the tournament. So they tried something and it didn't work out. So what? No big deal, even if they had lost the game.

  • Dummy4 on April 21, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    Vijay has given so many chances but still he is in Test mood, thinking that he has to play for 50 overs and Raina strikes the ball beautifully and hit for six which is beautifully caught at the boundary. He has to see all other matches who hit sixes very beautifully out of the stands. Faf has already in Chennai and he should be utilised. All in Dhoni's hands only

  • Dummy4 on April 21, 2013, 15:26 GMT

    @Ravikiran Hande: Well, even if Ashwin opening the innings was to shield Raina and Vijay from the spin attack, what wrong is in that? When Gambhir, can bring in Pathan top open the innings, I'm sure Dhoni could do with Ashwin! Surprising it was, but I don't think it was a terrible thing to do.

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