MatchDay 1 – Faf’ulous start for CSK while MI continue their UAE Jinx
Every new season of the Indian Premier League brings so much anticipation and enjoyment amongst fans and franchise. However, this season wasn’t a smooth sailing for the most celebrated franchise tournament in the world-being delayed by over 6 months due to dreadful Covid-19 and the tournament being moved to United Arab Emirates. It was indeed a heart break for the fans to not see their favorite players live and cheer along with the crowd. Nevertheless, IPL 2020 begins with a bang! Welcome back little baby <3. What more can fans expect when titans Chennai Super Kings lock horns against the Mumbai Indians.
The moment when Mahendra Singh Dhoni strolled through the field this afternoon, every single fan back home would have started to scream ‘Dhoni…. Dhoni’ and such is the impact that this team has left in the IPL. By beating CSK all four times last year, the MI Paltan had the upper hand, and had some new buys rejuvenating their lineup. But the master always knows a way to get his team over the finish line. Both the captains took the field in the scorching heat and empty stadium, and MSD made the first correct call and first chose to field. For the season opener, CSK had Dwayne Bravo out and young Sam Curran got his first CSK squad call. On the other hand, Mumbai had the services of Trent Boult and James Pattinson in their menacing fast bowling attack to complement Jasprit Bumrah.
With MI reaching quickfire 46 runs within 5 overs, Hitman and the pocket dynamite QDK got off to a blistering start. In quick succession, however, both openers fell and the middle order batted cautiously to steady the ship. The protean stalwart came to their rescue when they were getting a hold of CSK’s spinner. Faf du Plessis was a live wire on the field, springing up to take two magnificent catches and from there on Mumbai kept plunging down the ball game. The latest CSK recruits Sam Curran and Piyush Chawla produced economical spells and what looked like a total of 180 + at one stage was cut short abruptly to 162/9. MSD completed 100 catches in his IPL career and positively led his side back to the dugout.
However, CSK had a stumbling start (much known for their slow and steady progress) in the first two overs, losing Murali Vijay and Watto.The onus quickly shifted to Faf and Rayudu and kudos to them for keeping their head cool and building a solid 100+ run partnership to take the game completely away from MI. Rayudu scored a match winning 71 of 48 balls and Faf paced his innings well remaining unbeaten on 58 of 44. Sam Curran’s swift 18 runs put the final nail in the coffin! On discerning the way the dynamics of the game changed, the Mumbai Indians lost mainly because of three reasons. Firstly they lacked experienced spinners in the middle overs. Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya were not able to provide the resistance that MI hoped for. Secondly MI’s fielding let them down in crunching moments when Rayudu – Faf partnership was burgeoning. Finally they lacked sensible finishing at the death overs. The choice of picking Saurabh Tiwary over Ishan Kishan was unexpected, however he did a bit justice to his role and much more will be expected from him by the franchise in future games.
Captain Cool MSD registered his 100th win as captain in the IPL with this win. MI on the other hand lost its opening match for the 8th year. Also their losing streak in UAE continued by facing their 6th defeat losing all of them. This defeat would require MI to wake up and make some imminent strategic changes for the next game and get things started. For the dad’s army, it was another calm day and they would look to plug some weak links as well.