Abu Dhabi: Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s astute captaincy was backed up by some brilliant bowling at the back end as Chennai Super Kings restricted Mumbai Indians to 162 for nine in the opening IPL game here on Saturday.
CSK’s 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, 5×4) and Saurabh Tiwary (42 off 31 balls, 3×4, 1×6) played well, but couldn’t convert their starts as the defending champions got only 76 runs in their back-10.
De Kock started blazingly 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 have 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 batman hit straight to Shane Watson at mid-wicket.
Suryakumar Yadav (17) and Tiwary added 44 to steady the ship but some good outfielder 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.