The Chennai Super Kings finally bagged two crucial points to keep them alive in the tournament by edging past the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the 29th match of the Indian Premier League 2020. It was all happening for the Super Kings right from the toss when they elected to bat first for the very first time in the tournament. Moving on, it was surprising to see CSK play seven bowlers with the inclusion of Piyush Chawla in place of Narayan Jagadeesan, who had an excellent debut game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

It was even more surprising when Sam Curran, the English all-rounder, was sent to open the innings in place of Shane Watson. The decision was taken to capitalize on the field restrictions in the first six overs-something the CSK batsmen failed to do in their previous games, and fortunately, it worked in their favour by getting them off to a good start in the powerplay.

In this cricket analysis, we will analyze various performance factors that play a crucial role in the powerplay, and through this, we will understand the decision taken by CSK to promote Curran up the order.

How did the teams perform in the powerplay (1-6 overs) before this game?

Why Sam Curran opened the batting against SRH? : IPL 2020 - Data Analysis
Does not include stats from super overs

On the top, we have run rate per over i.e. the runs scored by each team per over in the powerplay. CSK have an RPO of 7.14, which is the least when compared to other franchises. It comes with no surprise as only 26.31% of the total runs scored by them this season have come in the powerplay. This was something that was hurting them in the long run when their batsmen were asked to score the majority of the runs in death rather than capitalizing early on in the innings.

Next up, we have runs per wicket i.e. the runs scored per wicket lost in the powerplay and boundaries scored on an average in the powerplay. CSK score just 30 runs per wicket with just over six boundaries in the powerplay which is again a matter of concern. The inability to attack & score along with losing wickets just transfers the pressure to the middle order batsmen. One interesting fact to note is how well the Sunrisers and the Kings XI Punjab have fared in the powerplay.  Their conservative approach still puts them on top when it comes to RPW.

To counter the slow run rate and also to increase the boundary percentage during the powerplay, Curran who had a strike rate of 219.35 was promoted up the order. He had a dot ball percentage of just 25.8 with an ability to guide the ball towards the rope every three balls. He was the best CSK could have opted for considering his current form and skill. Rightly so, he delivered by scoring 31 runs at 147.61 which comprised of three fours and two sixes in the powerplay. This also set the stage up for Watson and Ambati Rayudu to play their natural game and build a crucial partnership of 81 runs in the middle which was one of the main reasons behind CSK’s success against the Sunrisers.