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Dhoni prevails over Rohit in 13th IPL opening match

 ABU DHABI, Sept 19: Mahendra Singh Dhoni hasn’t lost an ounce of his leadership acumen even after a 437-day hiatus as his battle-hardened Chennai Super Kings, in the manner so typical of them, trumped Mumbai Indians in the IPL opener on Saturday. Ambati Rayudu (71 off 48 balls) blazed his way and Faf du Plessis (55 not out off 44 balls) more than made up for Suresh Raina’s absence at No. 3, helping CSK chase down a tricky 163-run target in 19.2 overs and with five wickets 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, Captain Cool’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.

MI’s sloppy ground fielding only helped their opponents, but Rayudu was in a murderous mood as he punished Rahul Chahar and Bumrah alike, with shots all around the wicket.


Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma c Sam Curran b Chawla 12, Quinton de Kock c Watson b Sam Curran 33, Suryakumar Yadav c Sam Curran b D Chahar 17, Saurabh Tiwary c du Plessis b Ravindra Jadeja 42, Hardik Pandya c du Plessis b Ravindra Jadeja 14, Kieron Pollard c Dhoni b Lungi Ngidi 18, Krunal Pandya c Dhoni b Lungi Ngidi 3, James Pattinson c du Plessis b Lungi Ngidi 11, Rahul Chahar not out 2, Trent Boult b D Chahar 0, Jasprit Bumrah not out 5. Extras: 5 (W-4, LB-1) 5. Total: (For 9 wkts in 20 over) 162. Fall of Wickets: 46-1, 48-2, 92-3, 121-4, 124-5, 136-6, 151-7, 156-8, 156-9. Bowler: Deepak Chahar 4-0-32-2, Sam Curran 4-0-28-1, Lungi Ngidi 4-0-38-3, Piyush Chawla 4-0-21-1, Ravindra Jadeja 4-0-42-2.

Chennai Super Kings: Murali Vijay lbw b James Pattinson 1, Shane Watson lbw b Boult 4, Faf du Plessis not out 58, Ambati Rayudu c and b Rahul Chahar 71, Ravindra Jadeja lbw b Krunal Pandya 10, Sam Curran c James Pattinson b Bumrah 18, MS Dhoni not out 0. Extras: (W-3, NB-1) 4. Total (5 wkts in 19.2 overs) 166. Fall of Wickets: 5-1, 6-2, 121-3, 134-4, 153-5. Bowler: Trent Boult 3.2-0-23-1, James Pattinson 4-0-27-1, Jasprit Bumrah 4-0-43-1, Krunal Pandya 4-0-37-1, Rahul Chahar 4-0-36-1. – PTI

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