Mumbai Indians were put in to bat first by Dhoni on a pitch that promised extra bounce throughout the match and some dew in the second half. MI managed to reach a score of 170 courtesy some lusty blows towards the end. The bowlers never let CSK off the hook and in the end, MI won the match comfortably.
Batting first at home, De Kock & Rohit failed to get going in the first couple of overs, the pressure finally got to De Kock who fell off Chahar in the 3rd over. It was Suryakumar Yadav who managed to thrust some sort of momentum with five boundaries over the next two overs. Rohit & Yuvi fell cheaply at the other end putting MI at 50/3 after 8.3 overs. It was then that Krunal & Suryakumar built a partnership of 62 runs. Hardik & Pollard then scored 45 runs off the last 12 balls to reach 170.
MI began with a near perfect defense with two wickets of the first two overs. Pollard’s one-handed stunner at deep point in the fifth over put the brakes on Raina’s attempts to break free. MI bowlers kept it tight till the 14th over when Hardik ran through CSK’s middle order accounting for both Dhoni & Jadeja.
Hardik finally ended with figures of 4-0-20-3 and was ably supported by Malinga & Behrendorff, who shared five more wickets between them. Quinton de Kock too made his presence felt behind the wickets by taking four spectacular catches.
CSK tasted their first defeat of the season courtesy some insipid fielding and sedate batting. Given CSK’s expertise at chasing, 170 was well within their reach, but they never really turned up.
Right from the toss, the match was very well on the course charted by Dhoni & CSK. Deepak Chahar did his usual stuff as he suffocated De Kock who holed out to Jadhav. Jadeja & Tahir picked a piece each of Rohit & Yuvi respectively. CSK were controlling the game at the halfway mark when the scoreboard read 57/3 after 10 overs. CSK never allowed MI to score freely and by the end of the 18th over when the score was 125/5, it seemed that MI would end up with a below par score of 140-150. Hardik & a determined Pollard had other ideas. At the innings break, CSK went into the dressing room as a dissipated and demoralised side, after having been smashed around like school kids.
A steady start would have done wonders to CSK’s chase but it did not come. Ambati Rayudu went for a golden duck as he fell to an unplayable snorter from Behrendorff. Watson fell cheaply and Raina soon departed after a few hits to the boundary leaving Chennai at 33/3 after five. Then Jadhav & Dhoni put on 54 of 55 and therein lay the cause of CSK's defeat. Once Dhoni fell in the 15th over after scoring 12 of 21, Bravo and co were left with asking for too much. A slow half-century from Jadhav (58 of 54), also did not help.
Though it's just one defeat, it definitely exposed CSK's vulnerabilities. Rayudu needs to start performing, and Watson too seems a pale shadow of his former self. While Jadhav top-scored for them, and everyone except Shardul picked a wicket each, it was only the spinners’ (Tahir & Jadeja) that CSK could draw some consolation from, they jointly had figures of 6-0-35-2.
Mumbai Indians will face the rampaging Warner & Co. on the 6th of April in Hyderabad. Given the form that SRH is in, that should be a very uphill task for MI. After that, they will play three consecutive games at the Wankhede which should give them an opportunity to climb the rungs of the points table. Yuvraj’s lack of runs should also be bothering them and with someone of Ishan’s capability warming the benches, Yuvi must be feeling the heat.
Chennai Super Kings will be hosting KXIP & KKR on the 6th & 9th of April respectively. Both the teams are very much capable of putting up an inspired performance. The only consolation being that CSK has the best record at home among all the IPL teams. They will be tempted to give Faf du Plessis a break and may also try Vijay in place of Rayudu. But then only Dhoni knows what he is thinking.
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