Ambati Rayudu’s 71 and Faf du Plessis’ 58* powered Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to a five wicket victory over the defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) in the opening match of Indian Premier League (IPL) at Abu Dhabi on Saturday (September 19).
Chasing 163 to win, Rayudu blasted six fours and three sixes as CSK romped home with four balls to spare.
It wasn’t a jam-packed Wankhede rooting for the Mumbai Indians nor was it the passionate Chepauk stands with its Yellow Army in full fervour. It was a near empty Sheikh Zayed Stadium in the Arabian desert where Bryan Adams’ Summer of 69 or Rocky’s theme music Eye of a Tiger blared from the sound systems along with artificial crowd cheers.
In this eerie set-up, CSK skipper MS Dhoni’s brain kept ticking as his new recruits — leg-spinner Piyush Chawla (1/21 in 4 overs) and left-arm seamer Sam Curran (1/28 in 4 overs) — made fantastic first impressions while the new ball pair of Lungi Ngidi (3/38 in 4 overs) and Deepak Chahar (2/32 in 4 overs) came back brilliantly at the death overs.
The skipper also sent match-fit Sam Curran at No. 6 and his 18 off 6 balls ended any anti-climax that Rohit Sharma’s men would have anticipated.
Giving less than 80 runs in the back-10 was the turning point and then the manner in which Rayudu and Du Plessis chased it after a scratchy start as MI maintained their record of not winning an IPL opening game since 2013.
Trent Boult, with an in-dipper and James Pattinson, with a slightly dodgy decision going his way, removed Shane Watson and Murali Vijay respectively, making it 6 for 2 before Rayudu, in the company of du Plessis, launched a furious counter attack.
One of the major aspects was how clueless Jasprit Bumrah (1/43 in 4 overs) looked during the day and it cost his team dearly.
Earlier, MI posted a challenging 162 for nine after CSK won the toss and elected to bowl. The highlight of Mumbai’s innings was Saurabh Tiwary’s 42 off 31 balls and Quinton de Kock’s 20-ball 33 at the top.
For CSK, Lungi Ngidi (3/38) was the most successful bowler while Ravindra Jadeja (2/42) and Deepak Chahar (2/32) captured two wickets apiece and Sam Curran (1/28) and Piyush Chawla (4/21) picked one each.
MI: 162 for 9 in 20 overs (Saurabh Tiwary 42; Lungi Ngidi 3/38, Ravindra Jadeja 2/42).
CSK: 166 in 19.2 overs (Ambati Rayudu 71; Faf du Plessis 58; Trent Boult 1/23)