The MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are currently sitting at the top of the points table with 5 wins in 7 matches and are looking set for another playoff appearance, after missing out from the top 4 last season.
They have made a hat-trick of wins and one of the key players who have stepped up for them this season is young Sri Lankan pacer Matheesha Pathirana. Since his arrival, CSK have won all three players that he’s played in and that has come down to Dhoni’s trust and usage of the 20-year-old Sri Lankan who is dubbed as Baby Malinga for his slingy, Malinga-esque action.
In 3 matches, Pathirana has taken 4 wickets and maintained a tidy economy of 7.58, which is all the more impressive considering he’s regularly bowled in the death overs. In the 6 overs he’s bowled in the death overs, Pathirana has taken all his 4 wickets in this phase and has conceded at a superb economy of 6.66, which is amongst the best in this phase in the tournament.
Pathirana had made his first mark last season for CSK and was retained ahead of IPL 2023. CSK will be facing the in-form Rajasthan Royals on Thursday in Jaipur.
Pathirana does what MS Dhoni wants: Murali Kartik
Former India spinner Murali Kartik previewed the CSK-RR match wherein he heaped praise on the young Sri Lankan pacer, saying that Dhoni has used him brilliantly.
“Pathirana is a seam bowler; he bowls really well in death overs. He’s emerging really well under MS Dhoni. MS Dhoni uses him like a remote control, and Pathirana does what Dhoni wants. So, I won’t replace Pathirana,” Kartik told Cricbuzz.
“Seam bowling is a weak link for CSK. Akash Singh has done well; he bowled four back-to-back overs in the previous game.”
CSK Squad: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devon Conway, Ajinkya Rahane, Shivam Dube, Ambati Rayudu, Moeen Ali, Ravindra Jadeja, Mahendra Singh Dhoni(w/c), Matheesha Pathirana, Tushar Deshpande, Maheesh Theekshana, Akash Singh, Dwaine Pretorius, Subhranshu Senapati, Shaik Rasheed, RS Hangargekar, Mitchell Santner, Ajay Jadav Mandal, Prashant Solanki, Simarjeet Singh, Bhagath Varma, Nishant Sindhu