MI vs CSK: Key learnings from the tournament opener
Defending Champions Mumbai Indians were handed a five-wicket defeat from arch-rivals Chennai Super Kings in the opening clash of 2020 Indian Premier League in Abu Dhabi. Despite getting on top initially, the Rohit Sharma-led side lost the momentum as the match progressed. Notably, this was the first win for CSK in six matches against MI. Here are the key leanings from the match.
Captain Dhoni was yet again spot-on
CSK skipper MS Dhoni carries a certain bravado, when it comes to leading a side. His nonchalant demeanour helped out-of-favor Ambati Rayudu rise from the ashes against MI. Rightly so, Rayudu went on to deliver a match-winning performance (71 off 48 balls). Moreover, Dhoni's move of sending Sam Curran and Ravindra Jadeja ahead of him and Kedar Jadhav also worked well for CSK.
Pandya didn't bowl in the match
Mumbai Indians all-rounder Hardik Pandya returned to competitive cricket for the first time after recovering from his back injury. He showed no signs of any injury while batting as he smashed two belligerent sixes, before getting dismissed (14). However, much to everyone's surprise, he didn't bowl in the entire match. This left the experts wondering if he his back issue still persists.
Chawla exploited Rohit Sharma's weakness against leg-spin
Dhoni introduced leg-spinner Piyush Chawla into the attack after mere four overs of pace bowling. As a result, he sent the MI captain Rohit Sharma packing. Interestingly, Rohit has now been dismissed most number of times (9) against leg-spin since 2017 IPL (right-handers).
Dhoni won his 100th game as CSK's captain
In his first game after announcing international retirement, Dhoni made use of his considerable experience. He added another feather in the cap, becoming the first captain to win 100 IPL games for a single franchise. Overall, he has captained in 175 games, winning a record 105 of them. He has the highest win percentage (60.34) among captains, who have led in over 50 matches.
Saurabh Tiwary does justice to his selection
In a strange decision, Mumbai Indians played Saurabh Tiwary at number four. However, the decision turned out to be fruitful as he scored a 31-ball 42. Eventually, he couldn't capitalize upon his start, which is why his brilliant effort remained unsung.
The amazing Faf du Plessis!
Faf du Plessis rescued the CSK innings after both the openers departed early on during the run-chase. He perfectly complemented Rayudu from one end (58*), having projected a perfect blend of strokes. Besides du Plessis' match-defining performance from the bat, his acrobatic fielding caught the attention. The 36-year-old took two stunning catches in the outfield, which changed the course of the match.