IPL 2019: Harbhajan, Tahir shine as CSK romps home

The Indian Premier League is back! Tune in for live commentary and updates from the season's first game between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore played at the Chepauk Stadium.

Harbhajan Singh wreaked havoc with the ball.   -  IPL

 

SCORES×
 

CSK beats RCB by seven wickets to gets its campaign off to a winning start. Harbhajan Singh led CSK's spin attack which restricted RCB to a paltry 70. Only Parthiv Patel managed a double-digit score as Bangalore slipped to its second lowest total in the league. Chasing a modest score, Chennai lost Watson early but first through Raina and then through a partnership between Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav, got over the line with effortless ease.

FOLLOW: 2019 IPL FULL COVERAGE

This is Ayan Acharya signing off. Join us tomorrow for a double header. Good night!

 

◙ Siraj cleans up Rayudu with CSK just 12 short of a big win. CSK 59/3 after 14.2 overs

◙ Suresh Raina falls after reaching a landmark 5,000 runs in the IPL. CSK 40/2 in 9.2 overs, it needs another 31to win in 64 balls. Moeen Ali with the breakthrough.

CSK has trudged to 16/1 at the end of the Powerplay. Rayudu is batting on 12, Raina on 3 and is 12 shy of 5,000 IPL runs.

◙ Out for a duck. Shane Watson after playing out string of 10 dot balls goes for a big swipe, but misses Chahal to see his off stump knocked back.

◙ Watson and Rayudu begin the chase for CSK; Chahal begins RCB's defence with a MAIDEN over. CSK 0/0 after 1 over.

Welcome back, Rayudu and Watson will begin the chase; Chahal with the new ball.

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◙ Royal Challengers Bangalore's Indian Premier League campaign got off to a disastrous start as Virat Kohli's men posted all of 70, the second lowest score in an opening fixture of an IPL season. More on that here => RCB sinks to second lowest total in opening IPL fixture

INNINGS BREAK: Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir picked up three wickets each as RCB folded for a paltry 70. Parthiv Patel was the only batsman who got to double figures. CSK, backed by a full-throated capacity crowd, has an easy task ahead, requiring 71 runs to win.

 

 

This is the sixth lowest IPL total and the lowest ever at Chepauk.

RCB 49 in 9.4 overs

RR 58 in 15.1 overs

DD 66 in 13.4 overs

DD 67 in 17.1 overs

KKR 67 in 15.2 overs

RCB 70 in 17.1 overs

 

◙ CSK spinners are all over RCB at the moment. Jadeja picks up his second as the Kohli—led side loses its ninth wicket for 70. RCB 70/9 in 16.5 overs

◙ First DRS of IPL and and CSK gets it spot on. Imran Tahir does well to persuade MS Dhoni to go for the review. Navdeep Saini had pushed forward and the impact was outside off but the ball had taken the edge before carrying to Watson in the slips for a catch. Navdeep gone for 2 as RCB loses its seventh.

◙ This is turning out to be a spinners paradise! Colin de Grandhome is undone by a beauty from Ravindra Jadeja. Skipper MS Dhoni makes no mistake to take a sharp catch. RCB is reduced to 50/6 at the end of 10.3 overs.

◙ There's the fifth! Shivam Dube edges it to Shane Watson at first slip and Imran Tahir strikes in the second ball of his first over. RCB in all sorts of trouble now, reeling at 45/5 after 9.2 overs.

◙ Shimron Hetmyer's debut is cut short as he departs for nought! He tries to sneak a quick single, but Parthiv Patel sees no run and Hetmeyer was left stranded. RCB now 39/4 at the end of 8 overs. 

Look who's here! It's the superstar himself, Rajinikanth!

 

◙ Caught&Bowled!! Harbhajan gets rid of Moeen Ali, who returns the simplest of chances back to the off-spinner. RCB 33/2 after 6 overs

◙ Virat Kohli departs for 6 off 12 balls, hits a shorter delivery from Harbhajan Singh straight to Jadeja at mid-wicket. RCB 22/1 after 4 overs

◙ Parthiv Patel scores the first boundary of IPL 2019 courtesy a misfield from Shardul Thakur at mid-off. RCB 5/0 after 1 over.

Deepak Chahar with the new ball. Virat Kohli and Parthiv Patel to start the proceedings for RCB.

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TOSS UPDATE:

M.S. Dhoni has won the toss and Chennai will bowl first.

 

Chennai Super Kings (Playing XI): Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni(w/c), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir

Royal Challengers Bangalore (Playing XI): Parthiv Patel(w), Virat Kohli(c), Moeen Ali, AB de Villiers, Shimron Hetmyer, Shivam Dube, Colin de Grandhomme, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini

◙ West Indies batsman Shimron Hetmyer, Navdeep Saini and Shivam Dube are making their debut for RCB.

 

MS Dhoni: "We will bowl first. We are not sure about the wicket. It is first game of the tournament so we are not sure of the target to set."

Virat Kohli: "We would have bowled too. There was lot of dew in the last few days. I will open the innings today with Parthiv Patel. Our four foreign players are ABD, Hetmyer, Moeen Ali and Colin de Grandhomme."

PITCH REPORT: "This pitch looks very dry and it might help the spinners. There is a smattering of grass to hold the wicket together. There could be little bit of dew might come in late. Average score batting first here is 167."

Race to pole position

 

 

◙ Percussionist Sivamani says playing drums for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, felt like he was in Brazil. Read the full interview here| His heart beats for CSK

 

 

Can M.S. Dhoni outpower Virat Kohli in the IPL 2019 season opener?

 

 

 

◙ Chennai Super Kings hasn’t registered a win over the defending champion since 2014 and not in Chepauk since 2008. Will tonight be any different, Santadeep Dey with his two cents| Clash of the Titans

 

◙ Unlike previous editions, there will be no opening ceremony before the match tonight but military bands will perform at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium. Shayan Acharya has more for you here| Military bands to perform in CSK-RCB opener

 

CSK has defeated RCB 14 times in 22 meetings, including the last six. Virat Kohli's RCB has not registered a win over the MS Dhoni-led CSK since 2014, and not in Chepauk since 2008. Will the trend change on Saturday?

Here's Hari Kishore's preview of this evening's contest:

Dhoni’s CSK vs Kohli’s RCB, a perfect start to IPL 2019
 

The summer is here and it is time for the biggest carnival in Indian cricket — the Indian Premier League.

The extravaganza begins with two stalwarts and flag bearers of Indian cricket — Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli — leading their respective teams, Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore, for what promises to be an exciting face-off on Saturday. It cannot get any bigger or better than this.

Dhoni has the bragging rights over Kohli in the IPL. CSK has defeated RCB 14 times in 22 meetings, including the last six. The visiting team hasn’t registered a win over the defending champion since 2014 and not in Chepauk since 2008. Come Saturday, the current Indian skipper would be itching to turn the tables on his predecessor.

TEAM ANALYSIS: CSK and RCB

Kohli has nothing to prove as a batsman but as a captain for RCB, the trophy-less cabinet is a blot on an otherwise bountiful landscape.

The teams got down to business on Thursday with an intense practice session.

- CSK’s strength -

CSK’s batting looks sorted with Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu on the top with Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Dhoni, Dwayne Bravo and Kedar Jadhav forming the middle order. In Dhoni, Bravo and Jadhav, CSK has accomplished finishers.

The Men in Yellow’s pace battery isn’t charged completely. While losing Lungi Ngidi to an injury days before the league was a dampener, the unavailability of David Willey has hurt the team further.

READ| Military bands to perform in CSK-RCB opener

With Shardul Thakur, Mohit Sharma and Deepak Chahar, the pace unit looks a little wobbly, although Mohit and medium-pacer Bravo have earlier been proud owners of the Purple Cap.

WATCH: Chennai Super Kings vs Royal Challengers Bangalore: Clash of the Titans 

Spin is CSK’s strength and this would be the skipper’s trump card for the home games in Chennai. Led by the experienced Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir, the unit also boasts of Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Santner and Karn Sharma in its ranks — a good selection headache for any skipper.

Tahir, Santner and du Plessis will join the CSK squad on Friday.

  • For the cricket crazy fans in the city, it also marks an emotional connect. CSK, which was suspended for two years, made a comeback last year only to find its home matches moved to Pune as the city was amidst a political tussle over Cauvery river water. Thousands of people made a beeline for tickets, from as early as the previous night, and fans in excess of 10,000 flocked to the stadium for a practice session. A bonanza awaits the fans in Chennai this year with seven CSK home matches, a possibility of two knockout games and the final being played at the Chepauk.

Finding the balance

RCB is a batting powerhouse.

Led by the admirable Kohli and an able contemporary in AB de Villiers, the duo can take any attack to the cleaners and turn matches in a matter of a few overs.

Wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel is likely to partner Kohli at the top of the order. Bought for 4.20 Cr, West Indies' Shimron Hetmyer will add muscle to the RCB middle order, which has lacked the poise in recent seasons to complement Kohli and de Villiers in the top order. With Marcus Stoinis, who is with the Australian ODI team in UAE playing Pakistan, unavailable until the beginning of April, Moeen Ali will be the like-for-like replacement with his offspin and clean ball-striking.

READ| IPL 2019: Huge turnout at MAC for CSK practice match

Yuzvendra Chahal is the lead spinner who could be complemented by Tamil Nadu all-rounder Washington Sundar, while Umesh Yadav and Mohd. Siraj will man the fast-bowling department in the absence of Nathan Coulter-Nile, who is also with Australia in the UAE.

It also presents an opportunity for domestic warhorse Shivam Dube to don the role of a finisher and justify his price tag of Rs. 5 crore.

READ: Shivam Dube not distracted by hefty price tag

By replacing Daniel Vettori with Gary Kirsten as the coach-cum-mentor and roping in Ashish Nehra as the bowling coach, RCB has overhauled the men behind the scenes.

Often, the side has been found wanting in terms of balance in the playing XI. Can the wise men restore the equilibrium? The answer will unfold in the coming couple of months.

IPL 2019: Full coverage

Teams (From):

CSK: MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Karn Sharma, Dhruv Shorey, Faf du Plessis, M Vijay, Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Billings, Mitchell Santner, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Imran Tahir, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, N Jagadeesan, Shardul Thakur, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Mohit Sharma, Ruturaj Gaikwad.

RCB: Virat Kohli (captain), A. B. de Villiers, Colin de Grandhomme, Kulwant Khejroliya, Moeen Ali, Md. Siraj, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Parthiv Patel, Navdeep Saini, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Washington Sundar, Pawan Negi, Yuzvendra Chahal, Marcus Stoinis, Shivam Dube, Prayas Ray Barman, Shimron Hetmyer, Akshdeep Nath, Himmat Singh, Milind Kumar, Heinrich Klaasen, Gurkeerat Singh Mann and Devdutt Padikkal.