Bengaluru, Sept. 19: After a six-month long delay due to the coronavirus, the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) finally got underway at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings got their campaign off to a winning start as they notched up a comprehensive five-wicket win over defending champions Mumbai Indians. With the win Dhoni also marked his 100th win as CSK skipper.
Ambati Rayudu put up a scintillating show with the bat as he smashed a 48-ball 71 to guide CSK to a comfortable win in the opening game of the tournament.
After restricting Mumbai to 163, Chennai Super Kings’ chase got off to a shaky start as they lost two quick wickets in the first two overs. But from thereon, Rayudu and Du Plessis took over the game as the duo finally stopped Mumbai’s reign over the Chennai outfit.
The Rohit Sharma-led team had defeated CSK in their last five meetings and Rayudu’s splendid effort along with a good bowling display helped the Chennai team overcome the defending champions.
Chasing 163 to win, Rayudu blasted six fours and three sixes in his blistering innings, while Faf du Plessis cracked 58 off 44 balls as CSK romped home with four balls to spare. Following Rayudu’s departure, Sam Curran helped the Chennai team inch closer to a win as he scored a quickfire 18 off 6.
Earlier, Dhoni's astute captaincy was backed up by some brilliant bowling at the back end as CSK restricted Mumbai to 162 for nine.
CSK's new recruits -- leg-spinner Piyush Chawla (1/21 in 4 overs) and left-arm seamer Sam Curran (1/28 in 4 overs) -- made a fantastic first impression while Lungi Ngidi (3/38 in 4 overs) and Deepak Chahar (2/32 in 4 overs) came back brilliantly at the death overs.
For Mumbai Indians, 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 got only 76 runs in their back-10.
De Kock started in a blazing fashion and launched straight into Chahar and Ngidi as 45 came off the first four overs. The shrewd Dhoni then introduced Chawla into the attack and he right away dismissed Rohit Sharma (12) who always has had a problem with wrist spinners.
It was a straight delivery that Rohit was trying to hit inside out but couldn't get past Curran at the mid-off circle. The seamer was back in action as he got rid of De Kock with a well disguised off-cutter, which the batsman hit straight to Shane Watson at mid-wicket.
Suryakumar Yadav (17) and Tiwary added 44 to steady the ship but some good outfielding in the back-10 from the likes of Curran and Faf du Plessis had MI struggling at 124 for five from 92 for two.
As an anchor, Tiwary 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 lusty sixes off Jadeja, but then Chawla bowled an ideal length to keep him quiet.
Jadeja was rewarded when Hardik tried to hit a third six instead of rotating the strike and was caught at the boundary by Du Plessis. Apart from impressing with the bat, du Plessis took three splendid catches during the opener, to help restrict Mumbai.
Rayudu was adjudged the Man of the match award for his match-winning knock.
Brief Score: Mumbai Indians: 162 for 9 in 20 overs (Saurabh Tiwary 42; Lungi Ngidi 3/38, Ravindra Jadeja 2/42) lost to Chennai Super Kings: 166 in 19.2 overs (Ambati Rayudu 71; Faf du Plessis 58; Trent Boult 1/23).
(With inputs from PTI)