Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni has called on his batsmen to improve their decision-making following his side’s six-wicket loss to Mumbai Indians in the first Qualifier of the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL).
CSK were able to muster just 131-4 on a spinning track after Dhoni elected to bat first but it proved to be no challenge for Mumbai who scaled the target with nine balls to spare.
Although Chennai still have the luxury of a second Qualifier to try and make it to the final, Dhoni has urged his batsmen to improve.
“At home, we had to assess the conditions quickly, we have played six to seven games on this pitch and should have read the pitch better, that’s the home advantage,” the CSK skipper lamented after the game.
“We needed to know how the pitch behaves, would it be tacky? Is the ball coming on or not, those were the things we didn’t do well today. I think the batting needs to get better. These are the best batsmen we have got and it looks like we are batting well, but at times, but in different games, they pull off shots that shouldn’t be played.
“These are the players who we have banked on, they have the experience and they should know to assess the conditions better, hopefully, we will do well in the next game.”
For finalists Mumbai, it was the third win of the campaign over Chennai with two of those victories now coming at the Chepauk stadium. Having taken one step closer to a record fourth IPL title, skipper Rohit Sharma stressed on the excellent balance in the side as the reason for their fine run.
“We’ve got a balanced squad,” Rohit stated.
“Whatever the conditions are, we’ve got the squad for them. We have the balance we need on any kind of pitch. Even the batters are confident in what they want to execute.
“That’s probably one of the reasons we’ve had some success in Chennai because we play the conditions well and understand the conditions well.”
Having failed to take advantage of home conditions, Chennai will now move on to Vizag where they will take on the loser of the Eliminator in the second Qualifier on May 10.
The winner of that clash will face Mumbai Indians in the final at Hyderabad on May 12.
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.