The Chennai Super Kings began their defence of the Indian Premier League title in style after they defeated the Royal Challengers Bangalore by seven wickets in the season-opening fixture of VIVO IPL 2019. After MS Dhoni had won the toss and opted to chase, the CSK spinners imposed themselves on the visitors from the word go. The CSK spin trio of Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja picked up eight wickets between them and were the force chiefly responsible in bowling out RCB for 70 in 17.1 overs.
The surface at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai wasn’t ideal for T20 cricket; the ball wasn’t coming onto the bat off the quicks, and spinners got the ball to turn considerably even in the first few overs of the contest. RCB didn’t help their own cause too; several of their top order batsmen – including Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, who was caught at midwicket – were guilty of not assessing the pitch and of poor shot selection. Parthiv Patel, who opened the innings and would be the last man to be dismissed, was the only RCB batsman to get into double figures; he made 29 from 35 deliveries.
CSK had a few anxious moments in their chase too; Shane Watson was dismissed for a 10-ball duck, and they crawled to 16-1 in the powerplay – the lowest powerplay score in IPL matches at the Chepauk. Suresh Raina, who struck three boundaries in his 21-ball 19, was dismissed in the tenth over. Ambati Rayudu applied himself for a large part of the run-chase and made a patient 42-ball 28; he was dismissed with CSK still 12 runs away when he charged own the track and got himself into a tangle against a Mohamed Siraj short-pitched delivery. Kedar Jadhav (13) and Ravindra Jadeja (6) completed the formalities.
Standout bowling performance
Harbhajan Singh was called on to bowl the second over of the match. The off-spinner assessed the conditions brilliantly bowled the right pace and put in just enough body behind the ball, leaving it to do its bit off the surface.
With runs coming in trickles, a frustrated Virat Kohli attempted to break the shackles, only managing to hit a flighted Harbhajan Singh delivery as far as Jadeja at deep midwicket. In his third over, the off-spinner bowled slower through the air and accepted a return catch that came off the leading edge of Moeen Ali’s bat – the batsman guilty of working against the spin on this occasion. In his final over, Harbhajan accounted for the wicket of AB de Villiers – caught on the midwicket boundary.
The 38-year old – who did not concede a boundary in his entire spell – had bowled out in the eighth over, returning impressive figures of 4-0-20-3.
Notable Support Act – Bowling
After Harbhajan Singh had derailed the RCB innings, it was the turn of Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja to do their bit. Tahir, who had landed in Chennai barely twenty-four hours ago, brought his A-game to the park; the bundle of energy that he always is, he bowled his four overs tidily for returns of 3 for 9. The South African leg-spinner bowled 18 dot balls in his four-over spell.
The track at the Chepauk was the kind Jadeja thrives on; bowling his flattish left-arm spin, he first dismissed Colin de Grandhomme with the typical left-arm spinner’s delivery (turned enough to take the outside edge to the wicket-keeper’s gloves), and then accounted for Umesh Yadav (who was beaten on the outside edge and castled). Jadeja finished with figures of 4-1-15-2, and his spell had 15 dot deliveries.
Stat of the Match:
The RCB innings was only the second time in the IPL that the spinners had picked up 8 wickets in an innings; the only other occasion was when the CSK spinners took eight wickets against the Deccan Chargers in 2012.
128 of the 209 deliveries bowled in the match were dot deliveries.
CSK’s win in Chennai would be their 7th consecutive win over RCB.
Chennai Super Kings: 71-3 in 17.4 overs (Ambati Rayudu 28) defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore: 70 all out in 17.1 overs (Parthiv Patel 29, Harbhajan Singh 3-20, Imran Tahir 3-9) by 7 wickets.
Man of the Match:
Harbhajan Singh, for his match-winning spell of 4-0-20-3.
|Chennai Super Kings||
|Kings XI Punjab|
|Kolkata Knight Riders|
|Royal Challengers Bangalore||