Defending champions Chennai Super Kings made a rollicking start to their 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign with a seven-wicket thrashing of Royal Challengers Bangalore in the tournament opener.
Veterans Imran Tahir and Harbhajan Singh played starring roles with the ball as three-time champions Chennai bowled out Bangalore for just 70 runs before they chased down the target with 14 balls to spare.
Chasing a paltry 71 for victory, Chennai were made to toil initially by the visitors with the powerplay overs fetching just 16 runs at the expense of Shane Watson’s wicket.
However, Raina was on hand to release the pressure with the left-hander becoming the first batsman to register 5,000 IPL runs in the process. Raina and Ambati Rayudu both fell after promising starts but it wasn’t enough for the visitors as the hosts coasted to a comfortable win in front of their home fans.
Earlier, Chennai’s spinners ran riot at the Chepauk stadium with as many as eight Bangalore wickets falling to them. Virat Kohli’s star-studded batting line up failed to withstand their first test as they slumped to the sixth lowest total in IPL history.
Royal Challengers were bowled out in just over 17 overs after being made to bat first by MS Dhoni with only wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel showing any signs of resistance.
On a slow Chennai surface where the ball gripped and turned substantially, Bangalore were on the back foot from the very go. After a quite start by openers Parthiv and Kohli, it all came crashing down for the Challengers with veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh turning the clock back in a sensational display.
Making full use of the sluggish nature of the pitch, Harbhajan sent back Kohli, Moeen Ali and danger man AB de Villiers in quick succession with a terrific spell of off-spin. Shimron Hetmyer’s IPL debut did not go according to plan either with the Windies dasher run-out for a duck by Suresh Raina.
Once Harbhajan was done, Ravindra Jadeja and Imran Tahir took over for Chennai with the duo sharing five wickets between themselves to put Bangalore on the brink.
Bangalore’s struggles were exemplified by the fact that no batsman other than Parthiv managed to get into double figures. Parthiv was set to become the first batsman in IPL history to carry his bat but it wasn’t to be for the left-hander who ultimately became the final Bangalore wicket to fall.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 70 all out
Parthiv Patel: 29 (35)
Harbhajan Singh: 3-20
Imran Tahir: 3-9
Chennai Super Kings: 71-3
Ambati Rayudu: 28 (42)
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