Chennai team’s batting in IPL is like DMK-Congress alliance. In spite of the disparities, it will run on and on. Death Over and Bowling is a tough – OPS model. No matter how hard you try, the alliance will not come together. That proved in the first match of this IPL as well.
The fans were upset because they lost to the new team, Gujarat, who were great last time. This time, Dhoni and Co. have added a little more fuel to the fire if it is seen that they will win the first game and put water on the fire.
With the home-away system after three years, new regulations including the impact player, and Dhoni’s last season, there were plenty of reasons to watch this season’s opener in Ahmedabad! To the cheers of the crowd, Dhoni entered the field to toss. The arena was filled with excitement. There are a lot of yellow socks in the crowd. Sishyapilla Pandya Sakhitam Pandya started and finished his first toss of the season. He chose to bowl on a pitch that favors chasing.
Dhoni will pick a team to bat with only ten people. Will he be left alone when there is an impact player rule… This time all 11 are batting. Conway, Gaekwad, Moeen, Stokes, Rayudu, Jadeja, Dhoni, Dubey, Santner, Deepak Sahar, and then the hunger striker who sat on the bench for the entire last season. In Gujarat, Kane Williamson, Rashid, Jos Little, Alzari Joseph are the same local players who played last season along with foreign players.
The style of the Gaekwat-Conway pairing is to play calmly throughout the powerplay and then come down to bat in the middle overs. Similarly, they started the first over with two runs. But in the very next over, Gaikwad hit boundaries saying ‘this will not be fixed’. 11 runs from Pandya in that over alone.
When playing against Shami in the powerplay, even if you cover the stumps and build a wall, his talisman will quickly destroy the stumps like water seeping through a crack. That’s what happened to Conway in the next over. Jose Little, who was CSK’s net bowler last year, is now in the opposition. Gaekwad lifted his first IPL ball towards short fine leg for a six. Next ball for a boundary. ‘It will not be good if I hit an older man’, Moin also hit a boundary for 15 runs in that over.
Moeen took revenge on Shami in the fifth over after bowling Conway. 17 runs. Pandya brought in Rashid Khan after seeing the runrate flying at a rocket pace. Moin out in the last over of the Powerplay. Time for the much awaited Ben Machan landing. But Gaekwad was chasing him without giving him a chance. In the end, Stokes walked off with just one boundary. Courtesy: Rashid.
Three sixes in the 9th over by Alzari Joseph. Gaikwad lifted the collar with his half-century in 23 balls. While Rayudu was wondering why he was not hitting his bat, ‘Are they really bowling or is it a hologram’, Gaekwad was only hitting sixes on this side. The run rate was not less than 9.
In the 13th over, Dhupe came in to end Jose Little Rayudu’s woes. He was looking for the ball for a long time on the pitch like a bus passenger who lost his ticket bought during the peak hour. This also did not affect Gaikwat. “My way is the only way” he was going on another track at a stormy pace.
Gaekwat’s score was 92 off 50 balls when he was dismissed on a full toss by Alzari in the 18th over. Chennai’s score is 151/5. In the same over, Jadeja also took a walk. In the last over, when Jose hit the ball in the little slot, the applause touched the sky. Chennai set a target of 179 runs in his little cameo.
Just 3 runs from Sahar’s brilliant first over. In came Tushar Deshpande, the first impact player of IPL to bowl the second over. The batsmen bowled him for 15 runs. Now Gujarat’s impact player Sai Sudarshan is on the field to send the ravenous Saha to the pavilion in the fourth over. In place of the injured Williamson during the first innings, he flew the ball without even looking at the sin of being named after his hometown Chennai. 65 runs for the loss of one wicket at the end of the powerplay to travel without changing gear for the other side.
The couple had to be separated again by the Hunger Caker. Sai Sudarsan built the walk. Gill didn’t fail to hit a boundary in spite of all the lobs to keep Captain Pandya in check. His score was 63 runs off 36 balls when he departed in the 15th over with Tushar’s signature. The team score is 138/4. What followed was the formal chase. Divetia and Rashid Khan played coolly and touched the winning line without taking pressure. Man of the match Rashid!
This is a good start for Gujarat in their quest to defend the trophy. It is known that it is the bowling week in Chennai. But to what extent Dhoni’s list of impact players is clear. There is no such thing as a familiar experienced bowler. Until Deekshana, Pathirana and Mahala all come here and land, CSK’s song is dindamattam.
Chepauk is a very favorable ground and they will try to use it in the next game to win. Will Chennai make it?!