After a sustained quiet period with the bat, Ambati Rayudu finally looked at his absolute best for Chennai Super Kings (CSK). The experienced middle-order batsman played a scintillating knock in Delhi against defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) in IPL 2021 on Saturday (May 1).
It was an astonishing rejuvenation act after a phase of struggle as a batter, with Ambati Rayudu smashing 72 runs off just 27 deliveries from No.5. During his unbeaten stay, Rayudu struck 4 fours and 7 sixes, including those against MI’s renowned pace duo of Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult.
Rayudu’s innings highlighted his often underacknowledged batting pedigree as he simply took apart one of the better attacks in the tournament.
It was a fantastic innings where Ambati Rayudu also showed his strong technique and temperament. The batter looked unfazed despite walking into a situation, with MI taking three very quick wickets, and never lost his shape while hitting the big shots that CSK required to get back in the contest.
WATCH – CSK’s Ambati Rayudu dominates MI attack for an unbeaten 72 off 27 in Delhi
With his memorable display, Ambati Rayudu took CSK to a daunting total of 218/4, which they didn’t look like reaching after losing their way in the middle stage despite an inspiring start from Faf du Plessis and Moeen Ali, who both made superb half-centuries.
What would’ve pleased Rayudu the most is that he dispelled doubts over his range and flexibility through his knock. Known more for his ability to negotiate spin, Rayudu flourished against inarguably the most competent pace attack in contemporary IPL cricket. And also showed that he can fulfil the responsibility of a death-overs aggressor, a role not associated with him previously in the CSK batting order.
Ambati Rayudu is one of the most crucial cogs in CSK’s wheels, with the team’s dependency on him reflected quite nicely in numbers. When Rayudu had his best IPL season with the bat in 2018 – 602 runs at an average of 43.00 and strike-rate of 149.75 – that coincided with the last of CSK’s three titles. When Rayudu made only 359 runs from his 12 innings in IPL 2020 at a strike-rate of 127.30, CSK suffered their first-ever league stage exit.
CSK will, thus, hope Rayudu can continue to produce the goods with the bat from here on and help them reclaim the coveted crown at the end of May.