One of the reasons behind the success that Chennai Super Kings (CSK) has achieved in the IPL over the years is their top order. They have always had such consistent top order players, particularly the openers, that the middle order has not been under pressure on too many occasions until recently when the openers have failed.
Let’s talk about 5 CSK openers who made a huge amount of impact for the men in yellow in the past–
Michael Hussey might not have batted at a very high strike rate overall, but his average in the 50 games that he played for CSK was 42.10 which speaks volumes of his consistency at the top of the order for CSK.
And, Hussey delivered for CSK in big games. Most of his big innings came in the knockout stages of the tournament and his role with the bat was really crucial in CSK’s back to back IPL triumphs in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
Considering Murali Vijay’s recent performances, some people would be shocked to hear that he once made an impact for CSK, but he did and he made a massive impact to be fair to him. He is one of the only two players till date who have scored two hundreds for CSK.
However, it was a long time back when Vijay used to open the innings with Michael Hussey. After that, he focused on his game for the longer format and his T20 batting skills dipped a little bit. Vijay is currently nowhere near as good an opener as he was at one stage, but he is still easily one of CSK’s four best openers of all time.
Matthew Hayden was in the twilight of his career when CSK came into existence, however he still piled on over a thousand runs in the first three seasons of IPL that he played for CSK.
Hayden was, in fact, the first CSK batsman who won the orange cap as well. In a total of 32 games that Hayden played for CSK, he averaged 36.90 with the bat and struck the ball at the rate of 137 runs per 100 balls. His highest score for CSK was 93.
Since Shane Watson’s arrival to CSK, the franchise has played two IPL finals. While Watson won one of them single-handedly with a hundred against Sunrisers Hyderabad, he got 90 odd in the second final as well last year against Mumbai Indians, but unfortunately, he couldn’t get the team over the line the second time around.
Watson has, so far, played 37 games for CSK and has scored 1088 runs at an average of 31.09 and a strike rate of 140.93. In such a short span of time, he has already got himself to no. 4 in the list of the leading six hitters for CSK. The right-handed opener has hit a total of 63 sixes in his CSK career so far.
Brendon McCullum featured for CSK in only a couple of seasons, but he was at his explosive best opening the batting as he scored 841 runs for the men in yellow in just 28 games at an average of 32.35 and a strike rate of 137.19 with 5 half-centuries and a hundred.
McCullum’s rate of hitting sixes was also quite high while he batted for CSK at the top of the order. The former New Zealand wicket-keeper batsman, who is now the head coach of KKR, put the ball into the stands 42 times in 28 games for CSK.