Ambati Rayudu crafted a match-winning knock of 71 for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the tournament opener against Mumbai Indians on Saturday. Ambati Rayudu stepped in at 6-2 and shared a stand of 115 along with Faf Du Plessis to give the three-time champions an upper hand while chasing 163. Harbhajan Singh, who opted out of this year’s IPL, reckoned that Rayudu deserved a place in India’s 2019 World Cup squad.
Ambati Rayudu faced omission from the men in blue’s World Cup squad last year as the selectors instead preferred Vijay Shankar for the middle-order. The 34-year old could have been India’s answer to their number four batting spot that was ultimately responsible for their exit from the tournament. Rayudu played his last international game against Australia in March 2019.
According to Harbhajan Singh, any praise is less for Ambati Rayudu and should have made it to India’s World Cup squad. The veteran off-spinner mentioned that despite being 34, Rayudu displayed the talent and proved that age is only a number. In 55 ODIs, the right-handed batsman scored 1694 runs at 47.05.
“It will be less however much you appreciate Rayudu. I feel there was an injustice done to him when the World Cup team was picked. He should have been definitely there in that team. But he has showed again in this match, how much ability he has and that age is on one side and talent is also something that needs to be looked at,” the Turbanator told Sports Tak.
Harbhajan Singh credits the partnership between Faf Du Plessis and Ambati Rayudu as the game-changing moment:
The 40-year old hailed the 115-run stand between Rayudu and Du Plessis as the match-turning point. The former scored 71 off 48 deliveries while Du Plessis remained unbeaten 58 to see CSK through the end. Harbhajan recollected their opening match against Mumbai Indians two years ago, a tournament which they won. Hence, he feels it’s an omen for them and advises Chennai to continue the good run.
“The partnership between Rayudu and Du Plessis was the game-changing moment for Chennai Super Kings. We have made a bright start and we need to keep moving forward like this. I remember that when we had won the IPL two years back, we had defeated Mumbai Indians in the first game. So, it is a good omen for us and I hope we will finish well again,” he added.