Ruturaj Gaikwad’s priceless 58-ball unbeaten 88 kept Chennai Super Kings in the hunt after a horror start, and then the bowlers cut all escape routes for Mumbai Indians in their IPL clash in Dubai on Sunday.
Chasing 157, Mumbai Indians went down by 20 runs.
CSK struck early. Deepak Chahar consumed southpaw Quinton de Kock with a full ball and then prised out Anmolpreet Singh with a slower delivery.
Then, Shardul Thakur struck with Faf du Plessis taking a fine catch running from mid-off to account for the in-form Suryakumar Yadav.
CSK continued to hurt Mumbai Indians with M.S. Dhoni captaining with vision. A cleverly placed fielder at cover, Dwayne Bravo pitching the ball in the right area, and the dangerous Ishan Kishan was walking back.
Dhoni shrewdly brought back Josh Hazlewood, and the crafty Aussie seamer trapped stand-in captain Kieron Pollard leg-before with a ball that skidded through. Despite Saurabh Tiwary’s defiant half-century, it was all over for MI.
Dhoni’s decision to bat first on a surface with bounce and movement was not without risks.
And MI’s Kiwi pair of Trent Boult and Adam Milne, bowling with pace, fire and intensity, was running hot.
And they blew away du Plessis, Moeen Ali and Suresh Raina in quick time; all three were caught slicing.
The mean Milne delivered a nasty incoming lifter to Ambati Rayudu that struck a painful blow on the batsman’s shoulder. Rayudu was off the park, retired hurt.
Dhoni did not last long, but opener Ruturaj, fortunate at 19 when ‘keeper de Kock fluffed a catch off leggie Rahul Chahar, played some delectable shots of footwork, balance, timing and placement.
And the dependable Ravindra Jadeja batted with chutzpah during their 81-run fifth-wicket partnership.
The calm Ruturaj innovated against the spinners as Pollard, leading in place of the injured Rohit Sharma, surprisingly opted for a double spin attack.
Ruturaj gradually changed gears, striking Bumrah for a six over covers. And he went ballistic towards the end, conjuring a last-ball six over square-leg off Bumrah whipped from outside off.
The last nine overs produced a whopping 108 runs for CSK. Dwayne Bravo’s patented slashed sixes off pacemen over covers helped.
What they said
MS Dhoni: “At 30 for 4, you want to put up a respectable score. I felt Rutu and Bravo got us more than we expected. We thought of 140, to get close to 160 was tremendous. The wicket was two-paced, slightly slow to start with. Also, it’s difficult if you’re batting lower down. If you don’t get a chance to see what is happening, you want to go hard. Rayudu got injured, so it was tough to come back from there. But we batted sensibly and finished superbly. It was sensible for one batsman to bat right through to the end.”
Kieron Pollard: “Ruturaj batted really well. In T20 cricket, if one person bats through, he can hurt you. We didn’t finish off well with the ball. Losing by 20 runs…. those were the extra runs we conceded. The surface was good, the new ball had movement, our seamers got early wickets. But we wanted to continue that momentum all the way. Losing three wickets was a cardinal sin for us. Given the circumstances, Saurabh batted really well.”