IPL 2020, CSK vs MI: CSK take all setbacks in their stride, ease to victory
Ambati Rayudu (71 off 48 balls) blazed his way and Faf du Plessis (55 not out off 44 balls) more than made up for Suresh Raina’s absence at No. 3 with, helping CSK chase down a tricky 163-run target in 19.2 overs overs and with five wickets to spare.Updated: Sep 19, 2020, 23:58 IST
No Harbhajan Singh? Bring in Piyush Chawla. No Suresh Raina? Step up Ambati Rayudu. Need 29 from three overs? Surprise the opposition by sending in Sam Curran. If it’s Twenty20 cricket, it’s his territory. As tactician, as orchestrator of final-over humdingers, can there be anyone better than him? Probably not. Hello MS Dhoni! Good to have you back.
Traditionally, Chennai Super Kings playing Mumbai Indians are not for the faint-hearted. This time, it was marginally better despite Dhoni’s decision to not go into bat when the scene seemed set for him. It turned out to be a good call. Curran proved his all-rounder’s credentials again. And Faf du Plessis showed he could be trusted with taking the team over the line. CSK began IPL 13 with a five-wicket win. (IPL 2020: MI vs CSK highlights and full scorecard)
Defending champions Mumbai Indians thus lost another Indian Premier League opener despite the rampaging start with Rohit Sharma creaming cover drives and Quinton de Kock moving around the stumps to throw the bowlers off gear.
The momentum was short-lived. With Mumbai Indians cantering at 45 for no loss after four overs, Dhoni quickly resorted to bowling his spinners. Sharma chipped Chawla to mid-off and de Kock couldn’t blast the crafty Curran past Shane Watson at midwicket. And slowly everything started to fall in toplace.
It wasn’t seamless transition though. Ravindra Jadeja erred in length twice and Hardik Pandya slogged two sixes over midwicket. The fielding was sloppy on most occasions and quite a few wides were conceded trying to avoid de Kock’s range.
But in a format like this, a moment of brilliance can turn the tide in a game. Chennai Super Kings had two in the 15th over, courtesy du Plessis’s presence of mind at the boundary. Saurabh Tiwary’s heave off Ravindra Jadeja looked good enough to clear the rope but du Plessis, parked at long on, still leapt. A lob back into the field of play, followed by a clean catch, it was all in a day’s work for the South African. Four deliveries later, the ball came at him quicker. This time, du Plessis looked more in control.
Those two blows proved hard for Mumbai. In the last six overs, Mumbai Indians lost six wickets and scored just 41 runs. In his first two overs, Lungi Ngidi leaked 29 runs. In the next two, the fast bowler conceded nine runs and took three wickets, one the result of a fine piece of wicketkeeping from Dhoni, who lunged to the right to pouch a faint tickle off Krunal Pandya’s bat low. Ngidi didn’t have to look back from there. With Curran, Ngidi and Chawla, Dhoni denied MI the flourish they were desperately seeking.
Trent Boult and James Pattinson took two wickets in the opening overs to raise Mumbai Indians’ hopes, but then they ran into Rayudu and du Plessis.
Always a dependable batsman, Rayudu looks most in sync with this format’s demands. He quickly got down to business, timed Boult through covers before clubbing Jasprit Bumrah for a huge six over long-on. Going down the track to spinners seemed tricky on the Abu Dhabi pitch but Rayudu made it look easy when he pulled Krunal over long-on for six.
Du Plessis went about his job squirting singles and boundaries whenever he could. When the equation boils down to 58 from 36 balls, you know the odds are in the batting team’s favour. Mumbai still had some fight in them. Bumrah was off the boil but Rahul Chahar gave them a much-needed breakthrough with Rayudu’s wicket. And when Krunal trapped Jadeja plumb in front of the stumps, it could have become anybody’s game. Only Dhoni thought otherwise.