Riding on an excellent bowling display by their spinners and a vital half-century from Suryakumar Yadav, Mumbai Indians prevailed by six wickets in the first Qualifier held at the Chepauk stadium.
Leg-spinner Rahul Chahar picked up two wickets as Chennai Super Kings were restricted to just 131-4 in their 20 overs after their skipper MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat first.
On a spinning surface at Chennai, Mumbai ultimately chased down the target with nine balls to spare to take one step closer to a record fourth title.
MUMBAI SPINNERS RUN RIOT IN POWERPLAY
Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma wasted no time in throwing spin at Chennai’s openers with Krunal Pandya coming on to bowl as early as the second over. That proved to be an excellent ploy for the visitors with the ball turning and gripping sharply on the pitch from the get go.
With the ball turning square, leg-spinner Rahul Chahar was the first to strike with Faf du Plessis perishing to a miscued cut shot. Just moments later, Mumbai landed another vital blow with the in-form Suresh Raina succumbing to an ambitious shot against off-spinner Jayant Yadav.
Just when CSK were looking to safely negotiate the powerplay without any further damage, Krunal struck with the final delivery of the sixth over to dismiss dangerman Shane Watson.
By reducing the hosts to 32-3 at the end of the powerplay, Mumbai had taken early control of the Qualifier.
RAYUDU, DHONI LEAD CSK FIGHTBACK
That the hosts ultimately recovered from that horror start to post 131-4 in the end was down to some sensible batting from Ambati Rayudu and skipper MS Dhoni who read the situation well and stabilised it.
Rayudu was extremely circumspect to start with on a turning track but soon grew in confidence following the arrival of Dhoni to the crease. It was Dhoni who showed more attacking intent with the veteran striking three sixes during his unbeaten stay while Rayudu was more content to keep rotating the strike and keep the runs ticking.
Together, the duo shared an unbeaten stand of 66 runs at the back-end which helped the hosts to ultimately post a competitive total of 131 on a very difficult pitch to bat on.
SURYAKUMAR YADAV AND KISHAN’s STAND PAVES FOR MUMBAI WIN
A chase of even 132 was going to be an extremely tricky one for Mumbai on a slow surface and that proved to be the case at the start with openers Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock falling early. However, just when CSK were starting to impose control, Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan took charge for the visitors with the highest partnership of the match.
Their 80-run stand for the third wicket took the sting out of CSK’s bowling attack with the two batsmen negotiating the spinners expertly.
Imran Tahir did introduce a late twist in the tale by removing Kishan and Krunal Pandya off successive deliveries in the 14th over but it did little to provide the hosts any respite with Suryakumar bringing up a terrific half-century.
Yadav remained unbeaten on 71 (54) as Mumbai crossed the finish line with plenty of breathing room still to spare.
Chennai Super Kings: 131-4
Ambati Rayudu: 42 not out (37)
Rahul Chahar: 2-14
Mumbai Indians: 132-4
Suryakumar Yadav: 71 not out (54)
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.
It seems players are not the only ones prone to losing their cool in the ongoing 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) with umpire Nigel Llong damaging a door to the umpire’s room in frustration at the Chinnaswamy stadium.
It all stemmed from a contentious front-foot no-ball call by Llong in the final over of Sunrisers’ innings bowled by Umesh Yadav. After replays indicated that the Bangalore pacer had not overstepped, RCB skipper Virat Kohli and Llong were involved in a long animated discussion with the umpire ultimately sticking to his original decision.
The ICC Elite Panel umpire then subsequently kicked the door to the umpire’s room at the Chinnaswamy stadium during the innings’ break while causing it some minor damage.
Following the incident, the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) reported the matter to BCCI’s Committee of Administrators (CoA) with Llong ultimately paying for the financial damage caused.
“It was an unfortunate incident,” KSCA secretary R Sudhakar Rao was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“He gave a wrong no-ball decision in the match, and Virat went and spoke to him, and Umesh also spoke to him. So he might have been upset, and frustrated. He came back and kicked the door to the umpires’ room after the first innings. So there was a crack and a dent in the door. The glass didn’t break, fortunately.
“After the game, I found out, and I met the match referee. I spoke to him, and we had a discussion, and I have reported the matter to the CoA. It’s a BCCI event, so it is for them to make the decision, if any.”
The contentious no-ball call did not have any substantial bearing on the game in the end with RCB going on to record a four-wicket win.
Llong is one of the umpires slated to take charge of the IPL 2019 final which takes place at Hyderabad on May 12.