Chennai Super Kings vaulted to the second spot in the IPL 2023 standings and broke the Chepauk jinx against Mumbai Indians with a six-wicket win on Saturday.
M.S. Dhoni’s side snapped a three-match winless run, beating the visitor which fumbled from the start. The win also marked the Super Kings’ first triumph in six meetings over MI at home since 2012.
MI’s attempt to make a fight out of a 139-run total got off on the wrong foot when Cameron Green overstepped to concede the first run, succeeded by a lofted straight-drive from Ruturaj Gaikwad for four.
Ruturaj’s two effortless swivel-pull maximums and a straight drive for four off Arshad Khan helped CSK make its intentions clear in the PowerPlay. Devon Conway joined the act by flicking and slicing Jofra Archer for fours before Rohit Sharma’s desperation bore fruit. Leggie Piyush Chawla struck with his first delivery as Ruturaj top-edged a short ball to wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan in the fifth over.
While Conway and Ajinkya Rahane effortlessly reduced the deficit in the middle-overs, Chawla returned with a sharp googly to trap the latter on 21. Middle-order bulwark Shivam Dube’s sixes lent speed before Conway’s watchful knock ended on 44, prompting a Dhoni teaser ahead of Ravindra Jadeja. The CSK skipper, fittingly, finished the procession with a single and 14 balls to spare.
Earlier in the afternoon, after being asked to bat on a fresh black soil pitch, MI captain Rohit demoted himself from the opener’s slot for the first time in 62 innings, pushing Cameron Green up with Kishan.
The move backfired as Green ceded his off-stump to Tushar Deshpande with a rash swing across the line in the second over. Kishan failed to stick around as Deepak Chahar’s gentle inswinger induced a top-edge to the mid-on fielder.
Tragedy was real when Dhoni stood up to the stumps, and Rohit’s attempted ramp off Chahar scooped up to Jadeja at point, a third wicket within seven deliveries. The MI skipper’s three-ball nought - second in succession - followed the golden duck in his last appearance at No. 3 in 2018.
CSK only operated with the two seamers in the first six, with Deshpande nearly adding a third wicket. Suryakumar Yadav teased the short mid-wicket fielder with a mistimed pull before closing MI’s PowerPlay at 33.
Suryakumar and Nehal Wadhera found a string of boundaries square of the wicket to put up a 55-run stand. However, Suryakumar’s flamboyance was dishevelled by Jadeja’s bolt-upright delivery clinking the stumps.
The spinners caught the batters in a tangle before Wadhera finally pumped the first six off Maheesh Theekshana in the 16th over as MI crawled past 100. The southpaw prevented a collapse with his maiden half-century in 46 balls - the second-slowest by an MI batter - before tapping Jadeja for three fours.
While Wadhera (64, 51b, 8x4, 1x6) threatened to take off, Matheesha Pathirana sent in a rattling yorker to the middle stump at his slinging best in the death. His impressive haul of 3/15 restricted MI to its joint-second-lowest total against CSK in a crunch game that could reflect heavily in its Playoffs stakes.
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