With hosts Chennai electing to bat first, it was Mumbai leg-spinner Rahul Chahar who stole the headlines with a sensational display which saw him concede just 14 runs from four overs while picking up two vital wickets.
CSK were restricted to just 131-4 in their 20 overs with Chahar’s miserly spell proving crucial in curtailing the rate of scoring for the hosts at the Chepauk stadium.
Here, we take a closer look at the 19-year-old leg-spinner’s stellar display in his first-ever IPL play-off appearance.
Runs conceded: 14
Brought on to bowl inside the powerplay on a track taking sharp turn and bounce, Chahar wasted no time in making an impact by picking up the wicket of Faf du Plessis with his very first delivery.
The youngster had his second victim 10 overs later when he sent a well-set Murali Vijay packing with a vicious leg-spinner that completely outfoxed the right-handed batsman. Chahar closed his spell excellently with another tight over in the death where he conceded just three runs to increase the pressure on the hosts.
With the pitch containing all the three key ingredients – turn, bounce and grip – that a spinner thrives on, the teenage leggie found the perfect speed to tie the batsmen in knots.
Although he possesses an excellent googly, Chahar rarely used it on a helpful surface and instead kept things simple with conventional leg-spin. That was excellent thinking by the spinner with Chennai’s right-handed batsmen completely struggling to cope with the amount of turn Chahar was generating.
Giving the deliveries plenty of flight and letting the surface do the rest is what worked for Chahar against both Faf du Plessis and Vijay with the latter being stumped by a country mile after advancing down the track.
Although it would have been easy for the young man to lose his nerves on the big stage, he really did not put a single foot wrong with the ball. Just one boundary came from his 24 deliveries with none of CSK’s batsmen able to stamp their authority over him.
There were no rank half-turners or juicy full tosses dished out by Chahar who exerted complete control over proceedings during his four-over spell.
VERDICT – 9/10
While veteran leg-spinner Imran Tahir has gathered the plaudits for his prolific campaign, Chahar is turning out to be one the finds of the tournament. The Mumbai youngster had kept things tight in his side’s league fixture against CSK at the same venue without picking up any wickets but on Tuesday he reaped the rewards for some terrific bowling.
On a turning deck, Chahar outbowled his fellow Mumbai spinners Krunal Pandya and Jayant Yadav by some distance in what is turning out to be a stellar debut IPL campaign. To do it on the pressure-cooker of a Qualifier is an even more commendable feat from the youngster.
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