Oh, what a batting bonanza by Chennai Super Kings

By Kersi Meher-Homji

The IPL match last night was full of runs, thrills and sixes. Batting first Chennai Super Kings (CSK), captained by MS Dhoni, scored 3 for 220 in 20 overs at an exhilarating run-rate of 11 runs per over.

They were given a stunning start of 115 runs off 74 balls by openers Ruturaj Gaikwad (64 runs with four sixes) and South Africa’s Faf du Plessis (95 not out with four sixes). The 24 year-old Gaikwad is showing a lot of promise.

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) started their innings disastrously losing five wickets for only 31 runs, fast-medium bowler Deepak Chahar grabbing four wickets cheaply. Just when we thought that the match would end soon, Dinesh Karthik (40) and Andre Russell (54) came to their rescue adding 81 runs off 36 balls for the sixth wicket.

Game on, now! But KKR needed an impossible 16 runs per over from now on. The impossible appeared possible when Australia’s fast bowler Pat Cummins came to the crease looking every inch a batsman.

He smacked six sixes in an entertainingly unbeaten 66 bringing KKR close to a surprise win. He was at his fierce best smacking Sam Curran for 30 runs in an over. In this Garry Sobers- like innings he hit 2, 6, 6, 6, 4 and 6. Imagine four sixes in an over, including three in a row!

But other batsmen failed and CSK won the thriller by 18 runs. For his unbeaten 95, du Plessis was made Man of the Match.

Said Dhoni at the match presentation, “I think it’s easy [for me] in a game like this because from the 15th and 16th over onwards, the contest was between the fast bowler and the batsman [laughs]. It was you vs me. The side that won was may be the one that executed it better. If 20 overs had been completed, it would have been closer. It’s important to be humble and give respect to the opposition. Every IPL team has big-hitters. I told them [my team-mates] we have good runs on the board but we need to stay humble. Only option was Jadeja [vs Russell] because the ball was stopping and spinning”¦ The batting has been really well. Rutu [Gaikwad] showed his class in the last IPL. We always need to assess where he is mentally. He doesn’t seem rattled and he has the basics to make it big. What would’ve helped him is the last few games last year when he wasn’t successful.”

Currently CSK is on the top of the 2021 IPL table with six points at a net run rate of 1.142.

Although Mumbai Indians is my favourite team, I predict CSK to win IPL 2021. Just look at their team. Led by Dhoni, it includes big time hitters du Plessis, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina, Moeen Ali (England) and Ambati Rayudu.

Still they have a long way to go.

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