Chennai Super Kings have been known to make wise investments and one of their latest, Dwayne Smith is turning out to be a great buy. The West Indies all-rounder was left in the cold by Mumbai Indians, paving the way for CSK to buy him for Rs 4.5 crore in the Indian Premier League auctions in February this year.
Smith, who now forms a potent opening combination with Brendon McCullum for the Super Kings, is the only batsman to have scored four half-centuries in this year's IPL and was the hero of a thrilling victory against the Delhi Daredevils at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Monday. Smith hammered 79 off 51 balls to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. (Dwayne Smith Scripts Chennai's Sixth Win)
The sterling half-century, which came under the pressure of a sharply rising required rate, was also his ninth in the IPL. Several players have been at their best, playing for CSK and the fact that four of his nine fifties have come this year, playing for the two-time champions is testimony to the fact that a lot of things are being done right in the set-up by coach Stephen Fleming and captain MS Dhoni.
Smith has so far scored 910 runs from 27 IPL games and 335 of those have come this year. He was in fine touch last year too, having rattled up 418 from 13 games but his average so far from seven games, 47.85, speaks volumes his confidence and fine form. (Chennai Super Kings vs Delhi Daredevils: As it Happened)
Smith was not afraid to take on the Delhi Daredevils bowling, who were obviously hampered by the slight drizzle towards the end of the game. The West Indian clobbered eight sixes during his innings. Only Murali Vijay (11 sixes during his 127 vs Rajasthan Royals at Chennai on April 3, 2010) and Michael Hussey (9 sixes during his unbeaten 116 vs Kings XI at Mohali on April 19, 2008) have recorded more 'maximums' in an IPL innings for Chennai.
In a sheer coincidence, Vijay now plays for the Daredevils, who were at the receiving end of Smith's fireworks while Hussey was bought by Mumbai Indians, after CSK chose to do away with one of their most prolific run-makers for reasons best known to them. (Chennai vs Delhi: Scorecard)
It was a night to forget for the Daredevils, who were once again so close but yet so far from a win at Kotla. Their bowlers were hampered by the wet ball, which did not allow them to execute the yorkers as Smith took full toll. No batsman other than Chris Gayle (13 sixes during his unbeaten 128 off 62 balls for RCB at Feroz Shah Kotla on May 17, 2012) has recorded more sixes against Delhi in an IPL innings.
And when Smith won a well-deserved Man-of-the-Match for his knock, it was his 17th in Twenty20 and underlined just what a great buy he has been for the Chennai Super Kings.