Former Australian all-rounder Tom Moody picked Matheesha Pathirana as the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) bowler who impressed him the most during the team’s Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 campaign.
Moody stated that skipper MS Dhoni showed a lot of faith in the youngster by bringing him into bowl in the second half of the innings, adding that Pathirana repaid the trust through his performances.
CSK won the IPL for the fifth time, beating Gujarat Titans (GT) by five wickets (DLS method) in the IPL 2023 final at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Monday, May 29. Pathirana was one of the most successful bowlers in the tournament, claiming 19 wickets in 12 matches at an average of 19.53.
Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Moody praised the young Sri Lankan pacer and said:
“From a bowling standout, it has to be Pathirana [most impressive performer]. He excelled and improved as the tournament unfolded. He was given a specific role to bowl after the 10th over, which is a huge responsibility when you have still got four to bowl.
“MS Dhoni had a huge amount of faith in his capabilities and he managed to perform more often than not and deliver the goods under pressure.”
Shifting focus to CSK’s batting, Moody named prolific opener Devon Conway as the one who made the most significant impact. Praising the left-hander for his versatility, the 57-year-old commented:
“Batting would be Conway; just his consistency was quite remarkable this year. It wasn’t like he batted on batting-friendly surfaces every single game. But his game seems to be able to adapt very quickly to all sorts of situations and all conditions. His consistency at the top provided that stability to that batting order.”
Conway scored 672 runs in 16 matches at an average of 51.69. He was the Player of the Final for his defining knock of 47 in 25 balls.
“At the start, CSK didn’t look like a squad that covered all bases” - Tom Moody
Looking back at CSK’s journey in IPL 2023, Moody admitted that, at the start of the season, they did not look like one of the stronger sides in the competition. Pointing out the various issues that were hampering the squad, he commented:
“At the start of the season, CSK didn’t look like a squad that covered all bases. There was a cloud over [Deepak] Chahar’s fitness - the dependence on him being 100 percent fit and being able to see a campaign out from start to finish given that he was so short of match practice. It relied on a lot of young players to step up and punch above their weight.
“They ticked a lot of boxes, but there were a couple of little weaknesses there that you could see creeping in.”
Chahar missed a few games in the first half of IPL 2023, but found his groove towards the business end of the tournament. He ended up claiming 13 wickets at an impressive average of 22.85.