Mahendra Singh Dhoni once again made all the correct decisions as his Chennai Super Kings completely outplayed Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opening match of the Indian Premier League 2019 on Saturday.
Chennai Super Kings rode on three-wicket hauls from Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir to bowl out RCB for 70 in 17.1 overs and then chased down the paltry target with 7 wickets and 14 balls to spare. Ambati Rayudu top-scored with 28 runs while Suresh Raina (19) and Kedar Jadhav (13 not out) also made useful contributions.
Dhoni’s decision to play three specialists spinners paid rich dividends for the home side as they made the most of the turning track at the MA Chidambaram stadium to bamboozle the clueless RCB batsmen.
“I wasn’t sure about the wicket. We played a practice match on this wicket and it was a high scoring match, but usually in practice matches we score 30 runs mroe than a normal match. But we were really surprised by how slow the wicket was. It reminded me of a Champions League wicket in 2011 after we won the IPL.
“The wicket definitely needs to be much better, even with dew it was spinning big. 80, 90, 100 is really low-scoring and if you have geniune spinners in your lineup you can create a lot of trouble. We have communicated it really well to the players as to when they’ll feature in and in which conditions. Harbhajan’s is one slot and we’ll shuffle it around. He would never mind bowling on such wickets.
“We need to score runs as well, ours is a batting attack where batsmen like to play their shots and you can’t control the toss which means that we might have to bowl first in matches as well. Other teams have good spinners as well and this isn’t the pitch we are looking forward to,” MS Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
The win also stretched CSK’s winning streak to 7 matches against RCB. The Bangalore-based franchise hasn’t defeated the yellow brigade since 2014. The head-to-head record between these two teams also favours CSK with Dhoni’s team winning 15 matches in 23 meetings.
Harbhajan Singh finished with 3 for 20 while Tahir bagged 3 for 9 as RCB crashed to the sixth lowest total in IPL history.
This was the second time RCB were bowled out under 100 in the opening match of the IPL. They had managed just 82 in the 2008 season opener against Kolkata Knight Riders. This was also RCB’s joint second lowest total in the tournament’s history.
The Bangalore-based franchise now figures thrice on the list of six lowest totals in IPL history. Their unfortunate record in the opening game of the IPL season stretched to three losses out of three – 2008, 2017 and 2019.
Such was the dismal show from Kohli’s team that Parthiv Patel was the only batsman who managed to get into double digits and top-scored in the match with 29 runs.
“No one wants to start like this, but it’s good to get a game like this out of the way – this early in the tournament. We spoke of trying to be in the game, taking it to the 18th over was nice to see. The batting wasn’t good, it wasn’t easy to bat on, looked much better surface though, I thought 140-150 would have been an ideal score, especially with dew expected later on.
“A scrappy start to the league, but I don’t think either team had control over it, the pitch was under the covers for 4 days, but we should have batted better, 110-120 would have been a fighting score. I thought CSK played really well, they deserved to win, but I loved to see our team fighting all the way,” Virat Kohli said after the loss.
Harbhajan started the carnage with the wickets of Virat Kohli, Moeen Ali and AB de Villiers in his first spell and then Tahir took over and removed the lower middle-order by sending back Shivam Dube, Navdeep Saini and Yuzvendra Chahal.
Ravindra Jadeja bagged the wickets of Colin de Grandhomme and Umesh Yadav while Dwayne Bravo got the last man out with his first delivery in the match.