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Punjab Kings’ mega buy Sam Curran struggling big time in SA20

Punjab Kings’ INR 18.5 crore buy Sam Curran from IPL Mini-Auction 2023 struggling big time in SA20 League. Sam Curran has taken only three wicket from seven games in SA20 at an average of 55 and scoring runs at an average of 11.16.

SA20 League 2022-23_  Sam Curran has taken 3 wickets from 7 games for MI Cape Town _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©CurranSM_Twitter)
Curran has taken 3 wickets from 7 games for MI Cape Town (Images: ©CurranSM/Twitter)

In the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL) mini-auction held in Kochi last year, Sam Curran took the entire cricketing world by storm. The England all-rounder became the most expensive cricketer in the history of IPL surpassing Chris Morris (INR 16.25 crore). His services were secured by his former franchise - Punjab Kings (PBKS) for a whopping amount of INR 18.5 crore (USD 2.25 million approximately). Teams like Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Mumbai Indians (MI) and three others were embroiled in an intense bidding war to secure the services of Curran but Punjab Kings eventually succeeded by outbidding him at a record-breaking price. And why would they not? Not only is Curran an asset to his franchise, but he is also an asset to his national side.

At that point in time, Curran was in the form of his life and his heroics in the 2022 T20 World Cup are an indication of his true potential. He currently averages 21.75 with the ball and has an impressive economy rate of 7.71 in T20 internationals. He has scored a total of 1798 runs in 116 T20 innings at a strike rate of 134.58.

However, in the ongoing SA20 competition, the all-rounder has not lived up to the expectations. He has so far struggled to perform with the same zest as he did in the world cup down under. Is this a worrying sign for Punjab Kings and have they invested their resources on the right man?

Let’s compare his T20 World Cup figures with SA20 figures and try to determine how things may build up for Punjab Kings.

Brilliant T20 World Cup 2022

The 24-year-old all-rounder had a sensational outing in 2022. In comparison with previous years, he did great justice to the wickets column and managed to bag 25 wickets at an impressive average of 21.08, ending up as England’s leading wicket-taker in 2022. Besides, his strike rate and his economy rate as a bowler have also improved in recent times.

Curran’s real moment in the Sun arrived when he took centrestage at the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022. He flourished with the ball and delivered some vital match-winning performances for England. He achieved his best T20I bowling figures of 5/10 which prevented Afghanistan from posting a huge total in England’s first game in the competition.

In the final, he shined with the ball again when it mattered the most. His spell of 3/12 against Pakistan at an economy of 3 runs per over proved to be the turning point in the game. In-form Pakistan batters – Mohammed Rizwan, Shan Masood and Mohammed Nawaz - fell prey to Curran’s immaculate bowling which dented Pakistan’s hope of making any comeback in the game. In the end, the game was convincingly won by England as they were crowned the T20 World Cup champions for the second time.

Sam Curran was adjudged player of the match and also the player of the tournament for his consistent performances against top teams in the T20 World Cup.

SA20 League 2022-23:  Sam Curran has taken 3 wickets from 7 games for MI Cape Town | Walking Wicket (Images: ©CurranSM/Twitter)
Curran has taken 3 wickets from 7 games for MI Cape Town (Images: ©CurranSM/Twitter)

Curran is struggling in SA20

A totally different picture has surfaced regarding Curran in the inaugural edition of SA20. It is clearly evident that Curran is lacking in form and has struggled to fire both with the bat and the ball. Unlike the world cup campaign, the all-rounder only managed to grab three wickets in seven games played so far. He has been unable to contain the flow of runs and has gone for plenty. Besides, he is currently having a shocking batting average of 7.5 this season and has been dismissed twice without troubling the scorers.

Sam Curran started off in MI Cape Town’s opening game against Paarl Royals in decent fashion by conceding 23 from his 3 overs without taking a wicket and scoring a handy 20(16) at the top of the order. However, after the first game, his form started to deteriorate. In the second game against Durban Super Giants, he was dismissed cheaply for a duck by Prenelan Subrayen and couldn’t create much of an impact with the ball either in his 2-over spell.

In MICT’s third game against Joburg Super Kings, he faltered badly with the ball and went for a few runs. He went wicketless and conceded 21 runs in his two overs which also included two big no-balls. However, with bat in hand he was there till the end to hit the finishing runs in style and get his team over the line. His batting woes continued even in his fourth game against Sunrisers Eastern Cape, as he was picked up by Aiden Markram for just 8. He eventually got his maiden wicket of the tournament in this game, but his economy rate was still on the higher side.

Things took a turn for the worse in MICT’s second game against Sunrisers Eastern Cape when Curran tried to throw the kitchen sink at Roelof van der Merwe on the very first ball, only to be dismissed for a golden duck. His bowling too was in shambles as he went for 40 runs in 3.3 overs. To add to his misery further, he was unable to seal the deal for his franchise and conceded a huge no-ball in the last over that allowed the Sunrisers to get over the line comfortably. The struggle with the bat continued even in his sixth game as he was dismissed for a single-digit score against Paarl Royals.

Way forward

Although his poor form in the current SA20 competition is worrisome for his franchise and even for PKBS who spent a fortune on him, it is still very early to write him off. Like every other professional, Sam Curran too is going through a rough patch. He is a young talented prospect for his national side and is exciting to watch when he gets going. He is a true match-winner and his record at the international level speaks for itself. Whether his current dip in form is temporary or something to worry about, only time will tell. But as of now, PKBS must be keeping a close tab on Curran’s recent performance in SA20 and must be hoping that their main man hits the ground running in the 16th IPL edition.

IPL 2023 is expected to begin in early April later this year.


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