Chennai Super Kings (CSK) opener Shane Watson was effusive in praise for his teammate Ambati Rayudu after his fantastic innings helped CSK pull off a confidence-boosting win in the opening encounter of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020.
Rayudu batted magnificently well through his 48-ball 71 against a quality Mumbai Indians (MI) attack and enabled Super Kings' five-wicket victory chasing the 163-run target in Abu Dhabi on Saturday (September 19).
While the 34-year-old was once again dominating against the spinners, what especially stood out was his assault on MI's ace quick Jasprit Bumrah.
It was the sort of innings that made Watson wondered why India felt Rayudu is dispensable to their cause in the lead up to the 2019 World Cup in UK.
"Gosh, Ambati Rayudu! 71, he batted absolutely beautifully. He is an incredibly talented batsman, I think it's a loss for the Indian cricket ODI team by not picking him in the World Cup squad for 2019. He is a seriously talented batsman," Watson said in 'The Debrief' episode on his YouTube channel T20 stars.
"To be able to take Jasprit Bumrah like he did, to take him on... he batted incredibly well. He has got shots all around the ground. And he has got a fair bit of point to prove against his old team MI. It was a great start for CSK."
In the episode, Watson also acknowledged the wonderful use of crowd simulation and pre-recorded fan cheers at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, thanking the BCCI and IPL officials for ensuring matches aren't played amid deafening silence, bereft of a sense of atmosphere to those watching on the television.
Fans aren't allowed to watch the games from stadiums due to the health scare within the COVID-19 pandemic.
"How well the IPL and the BCCI have done to be able to try and make the ground feel as close to normal as possible. Even something super simple had a huge impact was the speakers and the sound around the ground."
"To be able to have white noise of the crowd chanting for CSK and MI and the players, it really did create more of an atmosphere. I was expecting it to be more like club cricket where there is no sound. You tend to hear every shot that echoes around the stadium. But not last night. It was really like a great thing that the IPL have done."
"It makes it feel as normal as possible as it can when we are not playing in front of the incredible crowds. Thankful to the IPL governing body to think and come up with some like this," Watson said.