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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

IPL 2018: Ambati Rayudu finds peace at the top for Chennai Super Kings

Ambati Rayudu has gone from strength to strength as opener to help propel the twice champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to the top of the Indian Premier League (IPL) table this season.

cricket Updated: Apr 29, 2018 18:29 IST
Rajesh Pansare
Rajesh Pansare
Hindustan Times, Pune
Chennai Super Kings opener Ambati Rayudu has scored 329 runs in seven games so far in the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL).
Chennai Super Kings opener Ambati Rayudu has scored 329 runs in seven games so far in the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL). (AFP)

Ambati Rayudu steps out to Mitchell McClenaghan and dispatches him into the sightscreen. It’s just the third ball of the innings but that doesn’t matter to the 32-year-old Chennai Super Kings batsman who is in the form of his life. (IPL 2018 FULL COVERAGE)

Such shots have become part of Rayudu’s repertoire this season, and have quickly won over Chennai Super Kings supporters.

A look at his numbers this campaign suggests he is enjoying the best season in IPL since his debut in 2010. He’s also on the verge of eclipsing his 2011 tally of 395 runs, having scored 329 runs in just seven matches this season.

READ | IPL 2018: Chennai Super Kings fret over lack of firepower in bowling ahead of Delhi Daredevils clash

Rayudu 2.0 looks at peace with himself, more focused and more powerful than ever before. He has already hit more sixes than his last two seasons combined, which shows how he has altered his game.

In the past seasons, Rayudu would throw his wicket away if things didn’t go his way but this time around he has shown maturity to bide his time and pick the right deliveries to get going again.

After consistent performances in IPL saw him break into the India side, Rayudu somewhat lost his way last season, and featured in only five matches for Mumbai Indians.

READ | MS Dhoni reaches another milestone in Indian Premier League

Chennai Super Kings picked him in the player auction and instilled confidence and he hasn’t disappointed. Known to be hot-headed, Rayudu this season has put his head down and gone about his business.

His initial role in the team was that of a floater, similar to what he did for Mumbai. But given the chance to open, he has grabbed it, sealing his place at the top, especially with his knock of 82 against Royal Challengers Bangalore last Wednesday.

READ | IPL 2018: Chennai Super Kings still getting used to ‘home’ ground in Pune, says Stephen Fleming

Rayudu’s 101-run partnership with skipper MS Dhoni helped CSK pull off a thrilling five-wicket win with two balls to spare at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

CSK Coach Stephen Fleming praised Ruyudu after the victory over RCB.

“He has the backing of the team to play aggressively. He is now experiencing how good he can be. His power game has gone unnoticed, but we have certainly valued it. And the performances he has put in this year have been instrumental in winning games and also staying in the games. I couldn’t be happier with it.”

First Published: Apr 29, 2018 18:20 IST