Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devon Conway and Moeen Ali starred for Chennai Super Kings to help the team post a 12-run win over Lucknow Super Giants at their fortress — the MA Chidambaram stadium — in their opening home match of the ongoing IPL in Chennai on Monday. Gaikwad slammed his second successive fifty and shared 110 runs for the opening wicket with Conway (47 off 29) as CSK posted a commanding 217 for 7 after being sent into bat. Gaikwad, after his 92 in the opening game, smashed 57 off 31 with three fours and four sixes. Conway, who hit five boundaries and two over the fence, gave him good support.
And then Moeen Ali returned with fine figures of 4 for 26 from his overs to help CSK restrict LSG to 205 for seven.
CSK captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, back on home turf, made judicious use of the slow bowlers to ensure the team’s first win in this year’s IPL.
Pace bowlers Deepak Chahar (4-0-55-0) and Tushar Deshpande (4-0-45-2), who came in for Ambati Rayudu as Impact Player, bowled three wides and two no-balls in his opening over, in which he conceded 18 runs, disappointed.
The flamboyant Mayers and Rahul raised the team to 50 in the fourth over.
Poor bowling by Chahar, Deshpande and Ben Stokes (1-0-18-0) didn’t help CSK’s cause as they leaked runs in the powerplay as LSG batters posted a strong riposte in pursuit of 218.
Mayers hit a second consecutive fifty to provide LSG a flying start even as Rahul played second fiddle. Having reached 79 in just 5.2 overs, Mayers fell against the run of play, attempting a big hit off Moeen Ali only to be caught in the deep by Conway.
Earlier, Dhoni smacked an 89-metre six and another to send the adoring Chepauk crowd into raptures.
A delirious crowd had their glimpse of ‘Thala’ (Dhoni) as he carted two big sixes before being dismissed going for a third off Mark Wood‘s bowling for 12 off 3 balls. The iconic CSK captain completed 5,000 runs in the IPL during his brief knock.
After the initial blitz by Gaikwad (57 off 37 balls, 3x4s, 4x6s) and Conway (47 off 29 balls, 5x4s, 2x6s), there were valuable contributions from Shivam Dubey (27 off 16 balls, 1×4, 3x6s) and Ali (19).
Ambati Rayudu hit two sixes and an equal number of fours in his 14-ball 27 which slipped under the radar due to Dhoni’s pyrotechnics.
Wood, who picked up five wickets in LSG’s demolition of Delhi Capitals on Sunday, was not as effective and finished with 3 for 49 from his 4 overs.
LSG managed to put the brakes on the free-scoring CSK batters, thanks to a splendid spell by the leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi (3 for 28 in 4 overs) in the middle overs.
Sent in to bat, Gaikwad and Conway creamed 79 runs in the first six overs taking full advantage of the fielding restrictions.
The stylish Gaikwad continued his form from the season opener where he hammered 92 and in the New Zealand left-hander’s company brought up the team’s 100 in the eighth over.
Gaikwad made batting look so easy as he effortlessly lofted three sixes in Krishnappa Gowtham‘s opening over (5th of the innings). He continued to pile on the runs and a flick for a six off Wood underlined the supreme form he is in.
The CSK openers were on a roll and brought up the 100 in the eighth over as LSG bowlers appeared clueless.
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