Dhoni's CSK is currently placed last in this edition of IPL, while MI sits atop.
Ideally, the 200th game would have been a remarkable milestone for Chennai Super Kings which has made the most numbers of finals in the history of Indian Premier League. It would have invoked nostalgia, the legacy and some wonderful moments of celebration.
Cruelly, the match against Mumbai Indians on Friday night in Sharjah turned out to be not just one of the worst games of this tournament but also one of the most forgettable one for CSK. This was CSK’s first ten-wicket loss which is biggest while defending a total.
“Well, it does hurt. What you need to see is what is going wrong, this year hasn't been our year. In only one or two games this year we have batted and bowled well together,” said captain MS Dhoni after the match, in his typical stoic way.
Nightmarish start for CSK
Mumbai Indians won the toss and decided to bowl first and perhaps they may not have expected such a great start by their bowlers. In the very first over, youngster Ruturaj Gaikwad was sent back by Trent Boult on a duck. Next over Jasprit Bumrah got Ambati Rayudu and another youngster Narayan Jagadeesan in back to back deliveries. And when Faf du Plessis departed, CSK had lost more wickets (4) than they had scored runs(3) or played as many overs(3). Only once a team (Kochi Tuskars Kerala) had lost four wickets for fewer runs (2) than CSK’s four in 2011.
In the first 53 balls of the batting, Chennai had lost 7 wickets for 43 runs and it looked like they were on their way to equal the ignominious 49-all out record of RCB.
“Two-three wickets early on puts you in the game. But to get four-five is fantastic,” said Mumbai’s stand-in captain Kieron Pollard after the match who too was pleasantly surprised by an unexpected generosity from the rival camp.
Sam Curran the lone warrior
Yet, if one player who remains unfazed by terribly disappointing performances from his mates, match after match, it is England’s Sam Curran. Curran added 43 runs for the 9th wicket with Imran Tahir which is the highest in IPL history! His 52 was never going to win the game for CSK but it certainly avoided his team a complete embarrassment as they posted a target of 115. Boult, the left-arm pacer from New Zealand had already played a decisive part in this win even before Mumbai openers could begin their batting.
“Natural stuff, pitch the ball up and get it moving. Credit to Boom (Bumrah) and the other guys, to come and bowl as a unit. Lucky to get the first over. If it’s going to swing it’s going to be in the first few balls,” said Boult after the match who had the figures of 4 overs -18runs -4 wickets.
No reprieve while bowling for CSK
Normally, an unbeaten innings of 68 runs off just 37 balls with 5 sixes and 6 fours by the MI opener Ishan Kishan would have got a lot of traction on social media but it was merely a foot-note in the massive victory by the defending champion who is now back to the top of the points table with 14 points and a superior net run rate than Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore. Dhoni or any other captain had never seen as many balls remaining (46) while defending a total. It was that kind of day for CSK and Dhoni. The other MI opener Quinton de Kock scored an unbeaten 46(off 37 balls) and completed the formalities of a very easy win.