Match01 (19Sep) — MI v CSK — Match Summary

CSK pip MI, as expected.

Yesterday evening, Zayed cricket stadium in Abu Dhabi played host to the 1st match of the IPL 2020 between CSK and MI. This particular fixture has been the EL Clasico of franchise cricket, a clash of the titans. But off late this fixture has been rather one sided, with MI winning the last 5 they have played against CSK. Making matters seemingly worse for the Chennai based franchise; Harbhajan and Suresh Raina two important, experienced players pulled out of the tournament even before a bowl was bowled.

Now all this would have deterred most teams, but when you are led by the mighty MSD and you have a squad of players who are vastly experienced and well suited to low, slow conditions, as CSK you are quietly confident.

As for the actual game itself, well CSK won the toss and sent MI in to bat. This was crucial as it turned out that later in the evening there was enough dew to make batting slightly easy. MI batted well till about the 11th over, the fact that none of their top order bats could bat through meant there was never a set batsman on the wicket. The new batsmen from the Pandya brothers to Pollard all failed to give MI the big finish that was needed. A word here for Quinton de Kock, what a complete team man. He continued to go for the big shots even after Rohit was out, you could see that was the team plan. I just hope next time someone from the team management has the good sense of telling him he should try and bat through in case Rohit gets out early. Also, it was impressive how Sourav Tiwary played in the middle overs. A man who barely got any games last season, overlooked for the flamboyant Ishan Kishan, finally got his chance and ended up with the top score.

The end overs was a bowling masterclass by CSK, even without the death over specialist Bravo, the bowlers did well. Overall Chahar was consistent as usual, so was Curran. Jadeja and Ngidi were a tad expensive in the beginning, but the later did come back well. Considering the conditions though, Piyush Chawla was the best of the lot. In the end, the 160 odd that MI put up was at least 20 runs short.

As CSK started the chase they were dealt an early setback when both their openers got out cheaply. Watson was castled by Boult with an in swinging full length ball. Watson you may remember quite famously continued to fail throughout the IPL 2018 only to come good towards the end, in fact winning CSK the final singlehandedly. But I hope he does score some runs in the league stages, because it puts a lot of pressure on the middle order when he doesn’t. Murli Vijay on the other hand looks out of form and low on confidence, infact he didn’t even take the review on the ball he was given out even on the insistence of the non striker Faf du Plesis. The replay showed Faf was right. Faf played a beautiful innings yesterday. An anchor man like knock he played second fiddle to Rayudu, taking CSK home in a calm, composed manner. Rayudu though was the man of the match, what an outstanding knock. It still seems incomprehensible to me that he was not picked as India’s number 4 in the World Cup, maybe sometimes if you are not the yes man, the men in power don’t quite like you. And Rayudu has always been the bad boy of Indian cricket. Famously having joined the Rebel ICL in 2008. But Rayudu once again proved why he should have been on that flight to England with a fantastic knock. He played the spinners like a dream, and even took on the pacers. The step out shot back past Bumrah stood out for me, that shot alone told everyone the kind of mental frame Rayudu was in.

This match also marked the debut of James Pattinson, who bowled well. His story is remarkable, one of true grit. Having spent years in rehabilitation and setback upon setback it was good to see him do well on the big stage.

In the end a small cameo of 18 runs by Sam Curran made sure CSK won with 4 balls to spare. Sam is a very likeable cricketer, a fighter really, but next time I would like to see him stay his ground and hit the winning runs.

A good but not unexpected victory for CSK, the defending champions beaten in the first match kind of opens up the tournament and sets it up nicely.

Now, onto the next one.

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