IPL: All-round Chennai ease past Bengaluru in season opener

NEW DELHI: Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman produced a magical spell in his debut game for Chennai Super Kings while batters put up a collective show as the defending champions thrashed Royal Challengers Bengaluru by six wickets in Indian Premier League 2024 season opener in Chennai on Friday.
With Ruturaj Gaikwad leading the side for the first time, CSK produced an all-round effort much to the delight of a packed Chepauk stadium as the hosts handed RCB their 8th defeat at the venue.
Experienced Mustafizur brought back memories of his rookie days with his cerebral variations, claiming superb figures of four for 28 but a terrific 95-run stand between Anuj Rawat and Dinesh Karthik lifted the visitors to 173 for six after they were found reeling at 78 for five at one stage.
As It Happened
In the chase, the CSK top-order batters had starts but couldn’t convert them into big scores but Ravindra Jadeja and Shivam Dube got the job done with their superlative finishing skills to script a comfortable win for the hosts.
CSK, who have not lost to RCB at home since 2008, thus kept their enviable record intact.
Mustafizur, with his best ever IPL figures of 4/29 in four overs, was largely responsible for restricting RCB to 173 for six on a good batting track, where a 95-run sixth wicket stand off 50 balls between Anuj Rawat (48 off 25 balls) and Dinesh Karthik (38 not out off 26 balls) was the visitors’ only saving grace.
Jadeja (25 not out off 17 balls) brought his oodles of experience just when things could have got tricky in the run chase, hurrying a rusty Dube (34 off 28 balls) into completing some quick doubles to complete the chase in 18.4 overs. Dube also grew in confidence in Jadeja’s company towards the end as he finished the chase in a jiffy.
Credit should also be given to Rachin Ravindra (37 off 15 balls), who teed off in brilliant fashion with three sixes and as many boundaries to set the tone.
Ajinkya Rahane (27 off 19 balls), who had a forgettable Ranji season with the bat, also hit a couple of sixes before a great piece of outfielding by Glenn Maxwell saw his back.
Dube and Daryl Mitchell (22 off 18 balls) were peppered with short balls from Alzarri Joseph and Cameron Green with the latter falling prey to one such delivery.
When RCB batted, Mustafizur brought back memories of his rookie days but an impressive rear-guard action from Rawat took RCB to a fighting total.
Rawat, who initially was cautious, launched into Tushar Deshpande, whose natural length is on the shorter side. Three sixes and a four in the 18th over turned the course as RCB knocked 83 runs in their last six overs. Rawat hit four fours and three sixes in his innings.
This was after Mustafizur took four wickets in his first two overs to reduce RCB to 78 for five.
‘Fizz’ as he is known in the cricketing fraternity wouldn’t have got a first eleven nod had Matheesha Pathirana been fit to represent the ‘Yellow Brigade’.
Brought in the Powerplay to stop a rampaging Faf du Plessis (35 off 23), Mustafizur, gauging the pace of the track, didn’t keep it too full and bowled between the 7-8 metre length to extract enough bounce to get a couple of dismissals.
Kohli made a painstaking 21 off 20 balls in his first competitive game in more than two months.
Having got to face only six deliveries in the Powerplay, Kohli’s first attacking stroke was a pull six off Maheesh Theekshana (0/36 in 4 overs) but he never looked in rhythm after a two-month paternity break as a mistimed pull led to his dismissal.
Rahane had caught it at deep mid-wicket but as he was about slide out, he flicked it inside for Rachin to complete the relay catch.
Mustafizur’s best delivery however was one that cleaned up Green when he rolled his wrists to bowl a cutter with a wobbly seam.
At the onset, Deepak Chahar (1/37 in 4 overs) did look woefully short of match practice, as his loopy outswingers got harsh treatment first up from skipper Du Plessis.
But RCB’s joy was short-lived as the skipper was caught in the deep after a brisk knock.
Rajat Patidar’s (0) wretched run since England Tests continued as he nicked one to Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the stumps.
The break in momentum for RCB worked in Chahar’s favour as a change of ends saw him bowl one that pitched on back of length and moved a shade to have Glenn Maxwell caught behind.

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