By Suhas Nayse – SJFI Member
Over the years, Mumbai Indians were known for slow start and the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was no different. In the inaugural encounter, Chennai Super Kings edged past defending champions Mumbai Indians by five wickets to launch their campaign on a winning note at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday (Sept. 19). With this win, the three-time champions also avenged their narrow one-run loss against the same opposition in the 2019 final.
Chasing a modest target of 163, last year’s runners-up CSK romped home with four balls and five wickets to spare.
Ambati Rayudu (71, 48 balls, 6×4, 3×6) and Faf du Plessis (58 not out, 44 balls, 6×4) turned out to be the chief architects of the victory. The high voltage clash lived up to the pre-match expectations with both the teams fighting hard to grab those early crucial couple of points. Sloppy fielding, however, from both the teams marred the opener with several catches dropped and miss-fielding galore.
Rayudu played a wonderful innings of 71 runs to put CSK on the winning path. Rayudu, who got a promotion in the absence of regular Suresh Raina, grabbed the chance with both the hands to hit the first half-century of this year’s IPL. After his dismissal, du Plessis took over and slammed his 13th IPL fifty.
With just five runs needed in the last over, CSK crossed the finish line with four balls to spare. At one stage, CSK were in a spot of bother with both the experienced openers – Murali Vijay (1) and Shane Watson (4) back in the pavilion with score reading only 6 on the board in the second over.
However, a solid third wicket partnership of 115 runs between Rayudu and du Plessis brought CSK back in the hunt and they did not look back from there.
Earlier, Mumbai Indians squandered away a promising start and just managed to post a modest total of 162 for 9 after putting in to bat.
Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma (12) and Quinton de Kock (33) provided a flying start. However, both the openers departed in succession within a few balls which halted the progress.
Saurabh Tiwari (42) then tried to steady the ship with some lusty blows but he flattered to deceive. Kieron Pollard (18), Suryakumar Yadav (17) and Hardik Pandya (14) got starts but failed to capitalize on them.
CSK tall pacer Lungi Ngidi proved the most successful bowler with three wickets. Fellow seamer Deepak Chahar and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja chipped in with a couple of wickets each.
Mumbai Indians 162 for 9 in 20 overs (Saurabh Tiwari 42, Quinton de Kock 33, Kieron Pollard 18, Suryakumar Yadav 17, Hardik Pandya 14, Rohit Sharma 12, James Pattinson 11; Lungi Ngidi 3 for 38, Deepak Chahar 2 for 32, Ravindra Jadeja 2-42, Piyush Chawla 1-21, S Curran 1-28) lost to CSK 166 for 5 in 19.2 overs (Ambati Rayudu 71, Faf du Plessis 58 not out, Sam Curran 18, Ravindra Jadeja 10; Trent Boult 1-23, James Pattinson 1-27, Rahul Chahar 1-36, Krunal Pandya 1-37, Jasprit Bumrah 1-43) by 5 wickets.
Man-of-the-match: Ambati Rayudu (CSK).
Delhi Capitals to take on Kings XI Punjab on Sunday
On Sunday, Delhi Capitals will take on Kings XI Punjab at Dubai. Both the teams have had a poor run in the IPL over the years and never won the title yet. However, things can change this season as both sides have some match winners with them. Delhi Capitals will be led by India’s young star Shreyas Iyer and has Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant who can change the course of the match in matter of few balls.
Kings XI Punjab will definitely like to see the duo of captain KL Rahul and coach Anil Kumble click to perfection. While Rahul is an explosive batsman, Kumble can share his vast experience in reviving the fortunes of the Preity Zinta team.