In a much-awaited return to the MA Chidambaram Stadium, an inspired batting performance and Moeen Ali’s four-wicket haul ensured that the Chennai Super Kings defeated Lucknow Super Giants by 12 runs on Monday.
Chasing a mammoth target of 218, Kyle Mayers (53) provided a rollicking start to LSG’s innings. With his second consecutive fifty, he ensured that his team was on-course in the chase. CSK’s decision to hold back on spin backfired early on as Deep Chahar and Ben Stokes struggled. Then their impact player Tushar Deshpande (0/18) looked out of rhythm and bowled an 11-ball over, giving Mayers freedom to bat on.
LSG was above par with the scoring rate in the powerplay until Mayers was dismissed by Moeen Ali (4/26) in his very first over. However, LSG still looked like they were in the game at the end of the powerplay at 80/1. However, as soon as the spinners came on, LSG lost wickets in quick succession.
First, Mitchell Santner (1/21) got Deepak Hooda for 2. Ali, who bowled a spell to remember, picked up his second, dismissing KL Rahul for 20. He picked up his third as Krunal Pandya (9) also miscued one, leaving LSG reeling at 105/4 in ten overs.
Nicholas Pooran (32) attempted to add some life to the chase but was dismissed by Deshpande in the sixteenth over. Ayush Badoni (23) and K Gowtham (17*) were narrowing the equation down but an impressive penultimate over under pressure from Rajvardhan Hangargekar (0/22) ensured that LSG needed 28 for 6 in the final over. Deshpande completed a great comeback within the game, dismissing Badoni and conceding 15 runs in the over.
Earlier, after being asked to bat first, Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad (57) set up just the foundation needed for CSK to go big in their first home game of the season. Gaikwad picked up from where he left in the first match and reached his half-century in just 25 balls. The duo ensured CSK had scored 100 runs in just eight overs. Also guilty of holding the spinners back was Rahul. He only introduced Ravi Bishnoi after nine overs and the leg-spinner struck with his first ball to dismiss the in-form Gaikwad. Conway, stuck at 49, immediately followed him over. Bishnoi finished with 3/28 in his four overs.
LSG had limited the scoring rate for a few overs before Shivam Dube hit Bishnoi for two sixes in his After Bishnoi dismissed him too, Ambati Rayudu contributed with a handy unbeaten 14-ball 27.
The highlight of the day was a little phase in the 20th over. The Chepauk crowd got what they wanted as MS Dhoni scored back-to-back sixes in his cameo. Eventually, the score proved to be enough as CSK completed a solid return to their home ground after nearly four years.