Both matches between the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and the Mumbai Indians (MI) this season have been highly awaited. The first one between them was the IPL 2020 season opener - a greatly anticipated comeback to action for India's cricketers - and it lived up to expectations. In this match, there was the intriguing sub-plot of a team fighting to stay alive versus another looking to move to the top.
As it turned out, the match was a damp squib for CSK fans desperate for their team to show intent. There was intent right from the toss, with three changes and the much-awaited inclusion of Imran Tahir for CSK. All that was needed then was for the youngsters to grab hold of the opportunity and prove themselves.
They failed spectacularly, as the CSK top order fell in a heap. Ruturaj Gaikwad lasted just five balls after opening the innings as he was trapped in front by Trent Boult.
The early wicket prompted Rohit Sharma to go on the attack, and soon enough, Jasprit Bumrah took two in two. With mainstay Faf du Plessis too departing, there was panic in the CSK camp. For the first time ever, CSK lost five wickets inside the powerplay.
Though Sam Curran, and to lesser extents MS Dhoni and Imran Tahir, showed application with the bat, it was not nearly enough for CSK. Though 114 took an enormous effort for CSK to make, it was, after all, a flat wicket and a small ground. Quinton de Kock and Ishan Kishan showed just that in their effortless chase that was done within 12.2 overs.
In a horribly anti-climatic game, where one side completely outplayed the other, here are the top 3 underperformers of the match.
#3 Ravindra Jadeja (CSK)
With CSK in the doldrums, captain MS Dhoni would have banked on one of the team's most trusted members to play alongside him, somewhat similar to the way the duo nearly won India the World Cup 2019 semi-final. As it turned out, Jadeja charged down the wicket and hit Trent Boult's delivery straight to the fielder at midwicket, leaving the team gasping for breath at 21/5.
With the ball, there was some expectation of Jadeja turning things around and getting wickets. At the very least, this was an opportunity to stand up for the team. Bowling to two left handers in good form was never going to be simple, and Jadeja was duly punished for 15 runs in his solitary over on what was a woeful day.
#2 Ambati Rayudu (CSK)
Not too long ago, Ambati Rayudu was one of CSK's stars with the bat, with his performances at the top setting up solid platforms for the team to defend and chase totals. Unfortunately for him, he has followed up his 2018 bumper season with lean seasons in the next two years.
Rayudu had an opportunity to put all that aside and show his maturity when he replaced Gaikwad in the very first over. It was a short stay for him, as he succumbed to Bumrah's short-ball ploy and gave a simple catch to De Kock on his third ball. His departure meant that he spent the rest of the day with little to contribute as CSK slumped to an embarrassing loss.
#1 Faf du Plessis (CSK)
In a season where age and poor form have caught up with several of CSK's star players, Du Plessis has shone brightly. On several occasions, he has been the only one to put up a fight, and his average of 41.77 puts his inconsistent teammates to shame.
In this game, however, Du Plessis did indeed show his inability to do it for the team every single time. Stranded on 1 off 6 against Boult who was swinging the ball both ways, he received a wide outswinger which he chased and edged to De Kock. His departure meant the scorecard read a horrendous 3 for 4, and CSK's hopes for the match - and quite possibly the season - departed with him.
Published 24 Oct 2020, 09:06 IST