Home > Features >

IPL 7: McCullum-Smith have successfully filled the void of CSK’s Hussey-Vijay opening partnership

© PTI
Dwayne Smith (left) and Brendon McCullum have been the most successful opening pair this season © PTI

Chennai Super Kings had one of the settled opening pair in Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay. After their exit from the franchise, CSK have hit the jackpot with Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith, says R Vishal.

After a soul-crushing defeat against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in their tournament opener, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have cruised to six wins out of their next six games have yet again earned the right to being named as tournament favourites in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014.

Chennai lost Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay in the IPL auctions, which was a crushing blow as the duo have been set the tone and have been part of many a glory night with the two-time IPL winners. While replacing them was always going to be a tall ask, Chennai swiftly moved in the auctions to snap the T20 honcho, Brendon McCullum and the hard-hitting West Indian, Dwayne Smith.

With Faf du Plessis in the mix, some teams in the past have had their team balance going haywire to going in with three specialist batsmen in the foreigners slot. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in their pre 2012 days immediately spring to mind.

While it was a risk, Chennai have pulled off yet another coup and the fruits of it are there to be seen. The duo have been at their menacing best in this tournament. It must be said that Smith’s sublime form has put the gloss on the partnership. In seven matches so far, the right-handed marauders have put one 80+ and a 100+ plus stand and have looked menacing in the other games as well.

Smith and McCullum have been the best opening pair in IPL 2014 by a country-mile and opponents would have already laid down the marker on them. Smith’s has already scored four half-centuries and has been a glutton for big scores so far and IPL’s first centurion, McCullum has taken the sheet anchor’s role so far.

In Chennai’s previous encounter against Delhi Daredevils, they only lost a mere two wickets to chase down a huge score. With the avalanche of muscle power and finesse that MS Dhoni’s team possesses, making inroads through Smith and McCullum will be vital for opponents.

Vijay and Hussey are the all-time greatest pair of the IPL so far. The pinnacle of Indo-Australian duo was decimating the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the IPL 2011 final with a mammoth 159-run opening stand which all but killed the tie.

Vijay and Hussey have amassed 1105 runs at a superlative average of 40.92 and are some way away from the rest of the pack in the IPL all-time openers list. Another encouraging sign for Chennai is that McCullum has already been the other half of a prolific opening duo with Gautam Gambhir for Kolkata. While they only played 10 innings and scored 533 runs between them, their average of 53.33 is the highest average amongst openers in IPL history.

The seamless way in which Smith and McCullum have fit into a well-oiled machine with a plethora of match winners bodes well in Chennai’s quest for an unprecedented third IPL title.

Click here for IPL 2014 Points Table and Team Standings

Click here for IPL 2014 Schedule: Match time table for IPL 7

Click here for IPL 2014 Schedule & Results

Click here for IPL 2014 complete coverage

(R Vishal is a journalist and alumni of Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 9, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Harare

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 100 runs

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

India tour of England 2014

Jul 17, 2014  at London

India won by 95 runs

Photos

Heroes of India's Test wins in England

Videos

Rahul Dravid reflects on India's historic win at Lord's

10 things you need to know about Zaheer Abbas

Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2nd Test at Colombo: Pride at stake for high-flying hosts

Mahela Jayawardene at SSC: A tale of 11 tons

Please help Graeme Pollock, cricket boards and franchises of the world

Cricket at Commonwealth Games and Olympics: Why not?

England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Ishant Sharma MS Dhoni South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

VVS Laxman expresses disappointment over Sania Mirza controversy

Mahela Jayawardene: Enjoyed century against South Africa

Kane Richardson, Ben Cutting clinical in Australia A’s 6-wicket win over South Africa A

Bangladesh recall Imrul Kayes for West Indies tour

India vs England 3rd Test at Southampton: Ravichandran Ashwin should play, feels Saqlain Mushtaq

10 things you need to know about Zaheer Abbas

Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2nd Test at Colombo: Pride at stake for high-flying hosts

Mahela Jayawardene at SSC: A tale of 11 tons

Please help Graeme Pollock, cricket boards and franchises of the world

Cricket at Commonwealth Games and Olympics: Why not?

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

Commonwealth Games 2014 Medal Table: India 4th in medal Tally with 2 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze

VVS Laxman expresses disappointment over Sania Mirza controversy

Revealed: Akshay Kumar is a part of Salman Khan’s Kick!

399 million users access Facebook every month only on their mobile phones, mobile ads account for 62 percent of overall ad revenues

Kick movie review: Salman Khan’s film delivers more than your expectation

Rahul Dravid reflects on India’s historic win at Lord’s

Mobile services market in India to be $19.2 billion in 2014: Gartner

Kolkata police fan out for elusive teacher who beat 3-year-old toddler brutally

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here