The first match of the 2019 IPL season has just come and gone. While it wasn't a bad match by any standards, it left a lot to be desired. There is no denying that Chennai Super Kings deserved their victory but a little fight from their opponents would have been a lot more fun to see rather than the clean sweep that was this match.
A bare minimum target of 70 presented by Royal Challengers Bangalore wasn't much of a challenge for MS Dhoni's CSK. In the aftermath of the match, let us take a look at things that stood out whether for positive or negative reasons.
#3 The pitch
It was apparent since the very beginning that this was not a T20 friendly pitch. Even the winning captain, MS. Dhoni was critical of the pitch at Chepauk.
"I wasn't sure about the wicket. We played a practice match on this wicket and it was a high scoring match, but usually, in practice matches, we score 30 runs more than a normal match. But we were really surprised by how slow the wicket was. It reminded me of a Champions League wicket in 2011 after we won the IPL.
"The wicket definitely needs to be much better, even with dew it was spinning big. 80, 90, 100 is really low-scoring and if you have genuine spinners in your lineup you can create a lot of trouble. We have communicated it really well to the players as to when they'll feature in and in which conditions. Harbhajan's is one slot and we'll shuffle it around. He would never mind bowling on such wickets.
"We need to score runs as well, ours is a batting attack where batsmen like to play their shots and you can't control the toss which means that we might have to bowl first in matches as well. Other teams have good spinners as well and this isn't the pitch we are looking forward to,"
The RCB batsmen could not get anything started and constantly fell victim to CSK's spin attack.
#2 Day of the bowlers
The batting lineup didn't get to shine much in the opener and the day was solidly devoted to showcasing the bowling line up. CSK's Harbhajan Singh started the path of destruction for RCB by getting rid of Kohli in his second over and went on to cinch vital wickets of AB De Villers and Moeen Ali later in the game.
This kick-started an avalanche of wickets that RCB didn't have an answer to. They looked utterly out of their comfort zone as CSK's spinners spun circles around them. The chain reaction that started with Kohli just didn't stop and RCB could only amass a measly total of 70 runs.
Harbhajan Singh's excellent bowling won him the Player of the Match and we have to say it was a heartwarming sight to see Harbhajan back in his element.
He had this to say as he went to accept the Player of the Match award.
“I have learned quite a lot while sitting next to the legends in the commentary box. It is nice to be out there in the park and it is a special one for me. I would like to give a lot of credit to my wife and daughter for this award. You can't ask for a better start - they had a lot of left-handers and Fleming told me that I would be playing and bowling in the powerplay. It was nice to get a wicket up front and it gets easier after that. Nice to get the Man of the Match in the first match and hopefully we can carry on from here. Imran bowled really well in the latter part; it was nice to get Virat's and AB's wickets. It is a nice challenge and it is nice to sit on this side and take this award.”
There is not a fan, CSK or RCB supporting, that wouldn't agree that this was a long time coming.
#1 Raina sets another record
While the pitch wasn't very sympathetic to the batsmen, yet there was a man who managed to set up a record regardless.
Suresh Raina, who has been around since IPL's inception, set another record. As his team won against RCB for the seventh successive time, he also became the first player to score 5,000 runs in IPL history. He already holds the record for being the first player to achieve 2,000 and 3,000 runs respectively.
Raina came in after Shane Watson got dismissed early. He needed 15 runs to reach the mark which he managed within 19 balls.
He was later sent packing by Moeen Ali after scoring 19 off 20 balls. He currently has 5,004 runs in 176 games.
It is interesting to note that RCB's captain Virat Kohli was also close to the same milestone. Unfortunately, it was definitely not Kohli's day, as he was caught out early, managing only six runs off 12 balls before heading to the pavilion. Virat currently has 4,954 runs in 165 matches.