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Rayudu, Faf sink Mumbai Indians in IPL curtain-raiser

Ambati Rayudu and South African skipper Faf du Plessis toppled Mumbai Indians with experience handing Chennai Super Kings five-wicket victory over the Indian Premier League defending champions on Saturday.

In the curtain raiser at an empty Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Chennai staged a comeback with the ball to restrict Mumbai to 162-9. Chennai lost both their openers with just six runs on the board before Rayudu, who had retired from international cricket following 2019 World Cup snub, joined force with Du Plessis leading Chennai to 166-5 in 19.2 overs.

The duo brought tournament’s first century partnership in just 74 deliveries before adding 115 runs for the third wicket. Mumbai continued to lose their first IPL match in the last seven years, while Chennai captain MS Dhoni won his first match after taking to the field in 437 days.

 

Faf du Plessis plays a shot against Mumbai Indians during their Indian Premier League match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on Saturday. PHOTO: BCCI/IPL

Rayudu was the major aggressor in the match-defining partnership smashing six boundaries and three sixes. He fell to Rahul Chahar for a 48-ball 71 with Chennai needing 42 more from last four overs.

Jadeja (10 off 5) lost his wicket but in coming Sam Curran made the impact smacking two sixes and four in his six-ball cameo of 18 as Chennai needed 10 runs from the last 10 deliveries. Du Plessis reached 49 with a boundary off Jaspreet Bumrah’s third ball in the penultimate over and completed his half century next delivery leaving Chennai with five to get off eight.

Skipper MS Dhoni played two dots as Trent Boult set off to defend five runs in the final over. Du Plessis began the over by striking a boundary off the first ball and stealing the game with a single. Du Plessi remained unbeaten on a 44-ball 58 with six boundaries.        

Mumbai had started briskly after Quinton de Kock and captain Rohit Sharma (12) score 46 runs inside the first five overs. Both the batsmen fell in a space of two runs after leggie Piyush Chawla removed Rohit and Curran had De Kock caught by Watson.

Saurabh Tiwari made his selection count after the middle order batsman top scored with 42 runs for Mumbai Indians in their IPL curtain raiser. PHOTO: BCCI/IPL

De Kock was the second best scorer for the holders making 33 off 20 with five boundaries. Mumbai were hardly worried as Saurabh Tiwari and Surya Kumar Yadav kept the scoreboard ticking. The two added 44 runs for the third wicket before Yadav (17) fell to Chahar.

With Twenty20 assets Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya yet to open arms 200 looked seemingly possible for Mumbai. As soon as Pandya approached, the hard hitter struck two consecutive sixes off Jadeja to clear his intentions.

Tiwary, whose selection ahead of former Indian U-19 captain Ishan Kishan drew criticism, continued to smash runs but a combination of Jadeja and Du Plessis had Chennai back in the game.

Chennai Super Kings’ Lungi Ngidi (centre) celebrates with skipper MS Dhoni (left) and Ravindra Jadeja after getting rid of Kurnal Pandya. PHOTO: BCCI/IPL

Tiwari and Pandya (14) both holed out to Du Plessis at long off with the South African skipper displaying great presence of mind to take both catches at boundary rope. Tiwari top scored for Mumbai with a 31-ball 44 hitting three fours and a six.

South African medium pacer Lungi Ngidi, who was smashed for 29 runs in his first two wicketless overs, fought back to take 3-38 from four. Chahar (2-32) and Jadeja (2-42) shared four wickets between them but bled 74 runs collectively. Chawla bowled with some precision returning the 1-21.

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