Why Has Ajinkya Rahane Enjoyed Stellar Success in IPL 2023?
Rahane slammed another flamboyant fifty on Sunday night [Source: AP]
When Ajinkya Rahane was purchased by Chennai Super Kings for 50 lakhs, fans and experts raised eyebrows, terming his selection a tactical blunder by the most consistent franchise in IPL. However, the stylish batter from Mumbai has silenced his critics, emerging as CSK's go-to man with the bat, amassing 209 runs at a fabulous average of 52.25 and a mind-boggling strike rate of 199.05.
So, which factors have transformed Rahane into a beast in T20 cricket? Let's analyse and find out.
Cushion of a deep batting lineup
As opposed to most teams, CSK are blessed with a batting lineup having insane depth, with everyone in the playing XI capable of chipping in with handy contributions. With Conway and Gaikwad opening and batters like Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni to follow, Rahane has got the cushion, enabling him to bat with a fearless approach throughout his stay.
Batting on true decks
Like most batters, Rahane loves the ball to come nicely onto the bat, as he has always showcased his hard-hitting prowess on true batting decks, ideal for stroke play due to their even pace and bounce.
In three away games of CSK, he has batted on batting beauties of Wankhede, Eden Gardens and M Chinnaswamy, where the batters generally enjoy their time in the middle.
Besides that, the surface in Chepauk has been flatter than the typical red-soil wicket. So, his ultimate test will be on slightly two-paced decks in Lucknow, Hyderabad and Delhi in CSK's upcoming fixtures.
The MS Dhoni factor
Last but not the least, skipper MS Dhoni's unconditional backing has prompted the veteran batter to reinvent his T20 batting and play with a nothing-to-lose mindset. As Rahane has revealed himself, the credit must be given to Dhoni for encouraging him and boosting his confidence to rejuvenate his IPL career.
Speaking of CSK, the table-toppers are in sublime form, winning five of their seven matches so far. Up next, they will take on Rajasthan Royals in the 37th game of the tournament on April 27.