IPL 2020: Chennai Super Kings nick win against Mumbai Indians
MS Dhoni's side win the opening game by 5 wickets
It all felt a bit surreal. There were no fans in the stands yet gigantic electronic screens displayed recorded visuals of fans of either teams. Cheerleaders too appeared on the screens, again recorded, of course. The signature IPL tune blasted from the speakers, so too the crowd noise, when a four or six was hit or when a wicket fell.
The Indian Premier League was not the same as we know it. The buzz was surely missing and this was cricket without the frills. But defending champions the Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings more than made up for it with an entertaining opening game at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night.
They dished up another one of those thrillers before the Chennai Super Kings nicked the contest by five wickets and with four balls to spare.
Ambati Rayudu (71) and Faf du Plessis (58 not out) conjured half-centuries to put Chennai back on track after they had lost two early wickets. The pair were involved in a crucial 115-run partnership for the third wicket before Faf and skipper MS Dhoni took them home.
Earlier, Mumbai Indians began with a flourish but the Chennai Super Kings managed to pull things back.
The Mumbai Indians, eyeing a fifth IPL title, were given a blistering start by their openers Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock but the Chennai Super Kings managed to bring things under control.
The Mumbai Indians eventually finished up at 162 for 9 in their 20 overs after being inserted in by MS Dhoni.
Left-hander Saurabh Tiwary top scored for the Mumbai Indians with 42 from 31 deliveries, studded with three boundaries and a six, while South African pacer Lungi Ngidi snapped up three wickets after he was hit by de Kock earlier on.
Deepak Chahar and Ravindra Jadeja took two wickets each.
Other than Tiwary, de Kock made hay early on, knocking 33 from 20 balls with five boundaries.
The Mumbai Indians could have ended up with much more going by the flying start given by the openers, especially de Kock.
It seemed that the South African captain was batting in the nets as the Chennai Super Kings bowling attack, especially the pacers, hardly troubled him.
De Kock and his skipper Rohit Sharma were in sublime touch, while on the other hand, it seemed to be spiralling out of control for MS Dhoni.
De Kock had struck some delightful shots off Deepak Chahar and Sam Curran and compatriot Lungi Ngidi. Ngidi went for 18 runs in the fourth over as de Kock dispatched his countryman for three boundaries. The Mumbai Indians had the wheels on as they raced to 45 for no loss.
With the pacers making no headway, the cool and calm Dhoni punted on spin and brought on Piyush Chawla for the fifth over.
And it seemed to have worked like a charm as the leg spinner struck immediately, with Rohit Sharma spooning it into Sam Curran's hands at mid-off. The pair had put on 46 for the opening wicket.
Rohit Sharma's wretched form against leg spin continued as he has scored only 131 runs from 120 balls since 2017.
De Kock too followed soon after, in the next over, caught by Shane Watson at midwicket off Sam Curran.
That took the fizz out a bit as the Chennai Super Kings slowly clawed their way back into the game.
Saurabh Tiwary, playing his first IPL match in three years, joined Suryakumar Yadav and the duo put on 44 runs for the third wicket. Tiwary was also involved in a 29-run stand for the fourth wicket with Hardik Pandya.
But they lost their way towards the end of the innings, scoring only 38 runs from the last 32 balls, losing six wickets in the last six overs.
Mumbai Indians: 162-9 in 20 overs (Saurabh Tiwary 42, Quinton de Kock 33, Kieron Pollard 18, Suryakumar Yadav 17, Rohit Sharma 12, Lungi Ngidi 3-38, Deepak Chahar 2-32, Ravindra Jadeja 2-42) lost to Chennai Super Kings: 166-5 in 19.2 overs (Ambati Rayudu 71, Faf du Plessis 58 not out, Sam Curran 18) by 5 wickets.
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