Chennai Super Kings defeated defending champions Mumbai Indians by five wickets in the opening game of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League on Saturday.
CSK had lost their last five matches against Mumbai Indians (four in 2019, one in 2018) but started off the 2020 season with a win against defending champions as Ambati Rayudu and Faf du Plessis hit half centuries while Sam Curran played a crucial cameo.
CSK won the toss and opted to field, as the much-delayed IPL 2020 got off to a start in Abu Dhabi.
Mumbai could manage 162/9 in their 20 overs on a pitch that didn’t have much turn but had plenty of grass and was slow overall.
Chennai got off to a horror start as they lost their openers Shane Watson and Murali Vijay with just six runs on the board at the end of two overs.
However, Rayudu (71 off 48) and du Plessis (58 not-out off 44) came together to put on a brilliant 115-run partnership for the third wicket. CSK looked in a spot of bother as they lost a couple of quick wickets but Curran, promoted by Dhoni, played a superb hand of 18 runs off just six balls to take his team on the cusp of victory.
Chennai finally got over the line with du Plessis hitting back-to-back fours.
For Mumbai, Jasprit Bumrah was the most expensive bowler with figures of 1/43 from his four overs.
Earlier, Dhoni’s astute captaincy backed by some brilliant bowling at the back end saw Chennai restrict Mumbai to 162/9.
CSK leg-spinner Piyush Chawla (1/21 in 4 overs) and left-arm seamer Sam Curran (1/28 in 4 overs) made fantastic first impressions for their new team, while Lungi Ngidi (3/38 in 4 overs) and Deepak Chahar (2/32 in 4 overs) came back brilliantly during the death overs.
For Mumbai, Quinton de Kock (33 off 20 balls, 5x4) and Saurabh Tiwary (42 off 31 balls, 3x4, 1x6) played well but couldn’t convert their starts as the defending champions collapsed after getting to 121/3 in 14 overs.
De Kock started by attacking Chahar and Ngidi as 45 runs came off the first four overs. Dhoni then introduced Chawla into the attack and he dismissed Rohit Sharma (12) in his first over. It was a straight delivery that Rohit tried to hit inside-out but couldn’t get past Curran stationed at mid-off.
The seamer then was back in action as he got rid of de Kock with a well disguised off-cutter that was hit straight to Shane Watson at mid-wicket.
Suryakumar Yadav (17) and Tiwary (42 off 31 balls, 3x4, 1x6) added 44 runs to steady the ship but some good out-fielding from the likes of Curran and du Plessis saw Mumbai suffer a collapse.
Tiwary as an anchor proved to be a decent choice as he hit the first six off this year’s IPL off Ravindra Jadeja. Someone who promised a lot was Hardik Pandya (14 off 10 balls) with a couple of big sixes off Jadeja but then Chawla bowled an ideal length to get him caught in the deep.
Kieron Pollard then perished for 18 as CSK completed a fine fightback with the ball.
(Inputs from PTI)