Chennai: Mumbai Indians continued its success at Chepauk, by winning the all-important Qualifier 1 against Chennai Super Kings by six wickets to book a spot in the summit clash of the IPL 2019. After winning the toss, CSK opted to bat first. On a slow pitch the batsmen could not get going and losing wickets early on also did not help CSK’s cause.
Reeling at 65 for the loss of four wickets at the end of the 12th over, it was once again left to skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to get the team to a good total. Attacking with three spinners and Bumrah and Malinga, the MI bowlers however did a good job to restrict CSK’s total to 131, despite Ambati Rayudu and Dhoni sharing a 66-run partnership. Chasing 132, Deepak Chahar was once again started well for CSK, picking the priced wicket of Rohit Sharma by trapping him in front for a lbw.
Few overs later Quinton de Kock was also dismissed but uncapped Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan shared a partnership of 80 runs between them that took the game away from CSK and helped Mumbai get closer to the total with ease. Suryakumar was particularly impressive with his unbeaten knock of 71. In the end MI chased down the target with nine balls to spare to get into the finals.
Speaking during the post-match conference, CSK coach Stephen Fleming credited the way Mumbai played in difficult conditions. “They are a good side. They are confident and are playing well. They are putting us under pressure and playing a nice brand of cricket even in our conditions and got a pretty good record at Chennai. With current form they have got a nice balanced side. When you come up against such a side it has got to always be 50 50. We would love to have another go at them and win one but they certainly outplayed us.”
He also praised Suryakumar Yadav for the way he played, helping MI win. “Yadav played outstanding and we got an opportunity to get rid of him early. I thought we had enough runs on that surface to create chances to win. We just had to be good on the field and we just need to be patient but it was unfortunate. We couldn’t get them early and then there was a nice partnership that they had,” said Fleming adding that he was confident of defending the total after registering 131 on the board.
CSK for most part of the season at home had opted to bowl after winning the toss, but surprisingly, decided to bat in this game, when asked about it he said, “The last three wickets have been a lot different. There has been no dew for the last three games and the team batting first won the game. We noticed the change in weather and pitch conditions and that made us change. If you look back to the history of Chennai it is about getting runs on the board and then suffocating. We got beaten here when the pitch got more difficult. Looking at the one for this match, we knew it was going to be difficult throughout. It did turn a lot in the first innings, more than we expected”
CSK’s openers throughout the season have not scored well in the powerplay asked whether that becomes a deterrent for the team to post big totals, Fleming said, “That’s a problem we are finding. We are so far behind in the powerplay. We are doing right things in the overs 7 to 20. So the run rate is between seven and ten. So we have to do something more during the powerplay. If it’s about 14 overs, from then on we will be able to go at around 10 an over. Which help us get a competitive score but we need to have more balance in the first six. That gets you to a score close to 150 160 which is a massive score. So we are just falling behind at different stages but predominantly it is the first six just holding us back when we lose wickets. So maybe this is a case we will throw and have a crack next game and see if we can just let ourselves into form and confidence.”