Ambati Rayudu and Faf du Plessis slammed brilliant half-centuries as Chennai Super Kings (CSK) beat Mumbai Indians (MI) by five wickets in the opening game of IPL 2020 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Chasing 163 runs to win, Rayudu (71, 48b) and Faf du Plessis (58 not out, 44b) forged a match-winning 115-run stand for the third wicket to get Chennai off to a winning start. In the process, skipper MS Dhoni secured his 100th win as CSK skipper.
Chennai broke the five-match losing streak against Mumbai as it came back strongly with the ball and then rode on Rayudu and Du Plessis' heroics to romp home. Sam Curran played a gem of a cameo (18, 6b) to hand Chennai a convincing win.
The start for Chennai was horrific as it lost openers Murali Vijay and Shane Watson cheaply. Trent Boult trapped Watson plumb and soon Vijay paid the price of playing a flick across the line as James Pattinson was rewarded for bowling a tight line.
With the scorecard reading six for two, Rayudu joined du Plessis and the duo took charge of the innings.
On a slow pitch, Rayudu and du Plessis bided time and then exhibited attractive strokeplay as Mumbai struggled to find a breakthrough. A six off Bumrah over wide long-on gave an impression that Rayudu was well-set on the deck and soon picked a couple of boundaries to help Chennai accelerate.
Du Plessis played the role of a second fiddle, as Rayudu got to his 19th IPL fifty. However, Rayudu failed to ride his luck after being dropped by Krunal Pandya and perished while trying to up the ante.
Krunal made up for his drop catch by trapping Ravindra Jadeja and brought Mumbai back into the match. Curran walking in was all guns blazing and although he fell, du Plessis brought his half-century and stayed unbeaten.
Earlier, Lungi Ngidi (3/38) and Deepak Chahar (2/32) shared five wickets among themselves as Chennai restricted Mumbai to 162/9 after opting to bowl.
They were well supported by spinner Piyush Chawla and pacer Sam Curran as Mumbai failed to accelerate after getting off to a good start.
Quinton de Kock and Rohit Sharma started off blazingly with the South African picking the gaps and finding the boundaries at ease.
Dhoni introduced Chawla instead of Jadeja inside the Powerplay and the move worked as the leg-spinner dismissed Rohit to break the 46-run opening stand.
Curran then switched ends and made an important breakthrough as De Kock fell. The batsman heaved a back-of-length delivery straight into the hands of Shane Watson at mid-wicket. Chennai who leaked 45 runs in the first four overs was back in the game and dried up the boundaries.
However, Saurabh Tiwary, playing his first IPL game after three years hit the first six of this year's IPL and dropped anchor. He along with Suryakumar Yadav did the repair job by adding 44 runs for the third wicket partnership.
The fall of Yadav saw Hardik Pandya smacking Jadeja for a couple of sixes and break the schakles. But, Hardik fell while going for a third six as he was caught by du Plessis, who was simply brilliant near the ropes taking three catches.
Mumbai never regained momentum from there as it lost wickets at regular intervals. Ngidi came back brilliantly at the death to remove Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya to help Chennai keep a lid on Mumbai.
Mumbai Indians: 162 for 9 in 20 overs (Saurabh Tiwary 42; Lungi Ngidi 3/38, Ravindra Jadeja 2/42).
Chennai Super Kings: 166 in 19.2 overs (Ambati Rayudu 71; Faf du Plessis 58; Trent Boult 1/23).