Tom Curran figures that the opening night of the IPL in Sharjah offered an indication of things to desire bowling attacks in the current year’s competition, after the Rajasthan Royals out-muscled the Chennai Super Kings in a bat-dominated challenge that highlighted a record-equalling 33 sixes over the two innings.
Curran himself was subjected to six of those, remembering three for a row in the last over of the match, as MS Dhoni belatedly turned on the afterburners with the challenge effectively out of his side’s reach.
However, Curran stated, given the combination of Sharjah’s short limits and the beginning of dew in the last phases of the CSK chase, he was glad to have taken his licks and risen on the winning side – particularly given that his sibling Sam was in the resistance positions.
“It’s going to be tough work throughout the tournament, bowling at Sharjah,” Curran said. “It’s obviously small, but when the dew came in the second innings, it became really, really hard.
“The ball got really, really wet and with the combination of the humidity and how much you end up sweating there, there’s going to be some entertaining high-scoring games. And the toss is going to be crucial as well.”
Curran’s second foray in the IPL comes after an initial stretch as a late substitution for KKR in 2018, in which he got six wickets in five matches, however at an economy rate of almost two a ball.
This time around, notwithstanding, his burgeoning notoriety as a death bowler – for Surrey and Sydney Sixers as well as England – convinced the Royals to shell out INR 1 crore (USD140,000 approx) finally year’s auction. And keeping in mind that his abilities weren’t actually tested on Tuesday night, given that he was defending 38 in the last over of the match, the experience was important regardless, given that the Royals’ next match, against the King’s XI Punjab, happens at a similar setting on Sunday night.
“It was frustrating to go for those sixes but, at the same time, with a wet ball like that, the main thing was to not bowl a no-ball and make sure we win the game,” Curran said. “If I start trying to nail my yorkers and the ball slips out, and I bowl a flat one that goes for six, it just brings them back into the game.
“The pressure isn’t off but it kind of is, if you know what I mean,” he added. “It’s nice that we’d won the game but, as a bowler, to run up there at one of the most destructive batters in the world, it’s not the nicest situation. It’s one of those things really. It’s about adapting on the night really, and trying to get the job done for the team, which is what we did as an attack very nicely last night.”
As a bowler who depends on skillful deception more than outright pace, notwithstanding, Curran perceives that he won’t have the option to hold his varieties uncertainly in such conditions.
“As the tournament goes on, it’ll be about practising with a wet ball and just trying to make the best out of a bad situation,” he said. “Concentrate on the next ball and try and limit those big, big overs because there’s going to be boundaries, there’s going to be a lot of sixes. It’s about limiting those, I guess.”
On the off chance that his night’s work with the ball wasn’t exactly as he would have arranged, at that point Curran did at any rate appreciate a level of need to feel superior against his sibling, whom he withstood in an innings of 10 not out that, with Jofra Archer letting rip at the opposite end with four successive sixes, assisted with lifting the Royals to an outlandish total of 216 for 7.
Sam Curran handled some telling blows on the Royals, if not his sibling, guaranteeing 3 for 33 with the ball before splitting 17 from six balls in the wake of being promoted up the CSK order. “He came out with one intention. And one message, to swing pretty hard,” Tom said. “So unless he got 80-odd, I don’t think I would have bowled to him.
“I wouldn’t say there was any chirping, but there was a bit of banter going into the game, so it was nice that we got a win there,” he added. “But it was a strange feeling, a different type of concentration really, seeing him running up, there were a lot more things on my mind than usual for those first couple, which was strange.”
Tom’s main scoring shot against Sam was an outside-edged yorker that flew through third man for four, however while he was glad not to have out to his more youthful sibling, he mourned a missed chance to put a more complete stamp on their mini-battle.
“I’d have liked to put him into the stands for a couple, to be honest! The last ball I faced, he tried to bounce me actually, which was surprising because he had square leg up. I wish I’d stood still because I reckon that was my chance to put him into the stands. But he was getting his yorkers in, so I tried to put him off and walk down the wicket.
“It was good fun. We definitely had a laugh about it afterwards but, like I said, I’d have liked to have put him into the stands. He had a really good game, but we had a win. It’s nice to get a win and hopefully we get another little battle in a couple of weeks when we play them again.”