Chennai Super Kings began their IPL 2020 campaign defeating defending champions Mumbai Indians by five wickets in the opening match in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. MI scored 162 for 9, which CSK chased in the last over thanks to half-centuries from Ambati Rayudu and Faf du Plessis.
Here are the five talking points from the game.
Saurabh Tiwary’s Sensational Comeback After 3 Years
There’s been a zillion different expert views on ‘predicted XIs’ for each team in the IPL, but not a single one would have had Saurabh Tiwary playing for Mumbai Indians in the first match. Most would have expected Ishan Kishan to play, while some would have even punted on Chris Lynn. However, MI are known for surprises and they sprung one by playing Tiwary ahead of everyone else. The Jharkhand lad last played an IPL match in 2017. MI think-tank’s logic was soon proven right - they perhaps picked the stronger batsman for the bigger ground.
Tiwary came in at 48 for 2 after the openers fell in quick succession post a good start. He played his role to perfection, settling down taking a bit of time before accelerating to finish on 42 off 31. Had he batted a little longer, or had the big hitters played their roles, MI would have added a few more. Overall, though, it was a good comeback from Tiwary.
MI’s batting collapse, triggered by Faf du Plessis’ catches
From 121 for 3 in 14 overs with Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard still there, MI would have expected a lot more than 162 for 9. However, the collapse started in the 15th over with two sensational catches by du Plessis in the deep, off the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja. Tiwary and Hardik went for the big hits, and the ball nearly sailed over. However, du Plessis timed his jump to perfection and held his balance to pluck them out.
From there, Lungi Ngidi, who conceded 18 runs in his first over, made a good comeback by dismissing key batsmen in Krunal Pandya and Pollard to restrict MI.
Piyush Chawla’s economical bowling
There were a few eyebrows raised when CSK got Piyush Chawla got a big amount in the IPL player auction for the 2020 season, especially since they already had leg spinners in Imran Tahir and Karn Sharma. However, Chawla justified the move in the very first game, giving CSK’s first wicket of the season. MI were going strong at 46 for 1 in 4.3 overs when Chawla dismissed Rohit Sharma to put the brakes on the scoring.
He went on to finish a spell of 4-0-21-1, the most econonomical among all 10 bowlers in the match. Chawla’s performance ensured that CSK didn’t miss Tahir, who was left out in this game.
Ambati Rayudu - Faf du Plessis Partnership
At 6 for 2 in 2 overs, CSK were in deep trouble chasing 163. Vijay had just been dismissed after struggling throughout, showing batting was not the easiest in these pitches. However, Rayudu had no such trouble as he creamed the pacers through the off side for boundaries. The turning point occurred in the sixth over when Jasprit Bumrah bowled a no-ball, and the free hit was sent for a six by Rayudu.
At the other end, du Plessis played a mature, calm knock while Rayudu was the aggressor. Rayudu was terrific against spin, his footwork coming to the fore. The duo added 115 for the third wicket when Rayudu fell for 71 off 48. Du Plessis carried on till the end, unbeaten on 58 off 44.
Sam Curran’s cameo
“This was an ideal scenario because if you look at their bowling, you have two overs of spinners with one leg spinner (Rahul Chahar) and a left arm (Krunal Pandya). It was an ideal way of saying we are going to intimidate the bowler by saying okay he has been sent to do one thing - swing. Doesn’t mean he’ll hit everything but it was a psychological thing of saying that okay, we have batsmen and we bat deep, so we’ll send one or two of them up to hit a few."
That’s how MS Dhoni explained Sam Curran’s promotion in the batting order. Curran was sent above Dhoni and Jadhav, and he returned 18 off 6 balls in a time when the chase got slightly tricky. He was useful with the ball too, picking up 1 for 28 from 4 overs including the wicket of Quinton de Kock.