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New Zealand's Devon Conway clears the straight in-field during his unbeaten 92 against Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Devon Conway has engineered one of the biggest ambushes on a cricketing field in recent times by guiding New Zealand to a stunning 89-run win over hosts Australia in the first match of the Twenty20 World Cup 2022 at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.

The South Africa-born left-hander remained unbeaten 92 after guiding the Black Caps to mammoth 200 for three against the menacing Australian attack that he made to look very ordinary. And Conway credits his success to his stint with Chennai Super Kings, especially his opening partner Ruturaj Gaikwad and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Speaking to Cricinfo, the New Zealand left-hander said that his partnerships with Gaikwad and the two have had some impressive opening stands that laid the foundation for Chennai’s success.

Playing straight

After scoring his third half-century of the 2022 IPL, Conway recalled how Dhoni’s advise to play straight helped him to take Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav to the cleaners, guiding Chennai to 91-run victory over Delhi Capitals with a 49-ball 87.

“I have to give credit to MS, because I got out trying to play the sweep in the last game, and he told me to look to play straight,” he had said after collecting the man of the match award. But his education did not stop there. It is exactly the same message that he carried on and put to good used against Australia, stepping out to Adam Zampa and virtually toyed with the leg-spinner, hitting sixes at will.

Conway, whose career didn’t take off the way he wanted it in the domestic leagues in South Africa, had to leave everything behind and had to sell his car and property to start a fresh in New Zealand after going Kolpak. It was worth the gamble.

The New Zealander also gives credit to Dhoni on his change in approach as a wicketkeeper and has followed the Indian stumper’s style of staying relaxed while keeping wickets.

Conway has followed Dhoni’s approach and style and now probably he wants to emulate former Indian skipper by winning a World Cup. He could possibly achieve it under another captain cool Kane Williamson.