• Sunday, April 21, 2024

IPL 2024

Mustafizur’s brilliance propels Chennai Super Kings to victory

Mustafizur Rahman returned figures of 4-29 to set up a six-wicket win for defending champions

Chennai Super Kings’ Mustafizur Rahman bowls during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on March 22, 2024. (Photo by R.SATISH BABU/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

BANGLADESH’s Mustafizur Rahman returned figures of 4-29 to set up a six-wicket win for defending champions Chennai Super Kings in the IPL opener against Royal Challengers Bengaluru on Friday (22).

Hosts Chennai kept Bengaluru down to 173-6, a total their batsmen overhauled in 18.4 overs at the M A Chidambaram Stadium.

Shivam Dube, who hit 34, and fellow left-hander Ravindra Jadeja, who made 25, put on an unbeaten stand of 66 to steer the team home.

The 17th edition of the lucrative league began with a glitzy ceremony, with performances by Bollywood stars including India’s Oscar-winning composer A R Rahman.

Extravagant dances, popular music and fireworks gave way to the toss as Bengaluru skipper Faf du Plessis elected to bat.

Old warhorse M S Dhoni had shocked his fans on the eve of the opener when he handed over the captaincy to Ruturaj Gaikwad, who said he got to know of the decision last week.

“I have always enjoyed it,” Gaikwad said of his captaincy debut in the IPL.

“Haven’t felt the additional pressure, right from the state side. Not even a single time I felt pressurised by anything. Obviously had ‘Mahi’ (Dhoni’s nickname) bhai with me.”

Gaikwad’s leadership witnessed early challenges when his opposite number Du Plessis smashed regular boundaries but left-arm quick Mustafizur led Chennai’s fightback with his IPL-best haul.

Mustafizur had Du Plessis caught out for 35 and Bengaluru slipped from 41-0 to 42-3 in the space of seven balls when Australia’s Glenn Maxwell was out for a first-ball duck off Deepak Chahar.

Mustafizur was named man of the match.

Virat Kohli returned to competitive cricket after two months following a paternity break when he missed India’s 4-1 Test victory over England and started cautiously.

He made 21 off 20 balls including a six off spinner Maheesh Theekshana before his departure in another inspired spell by Mustafizur, who again struck twice in an over.

Kohli was caught in the deep after a relay catch between Ajinkya Rahane and Rachin Ravindra and soon Cameron Green departed with Bengaluru losing half their side inside 12 overs.

“We were 15-20 runs short on a pitch that wasn’t as bad as we played in the first ten overs,” Du Plessis said.

“We were always a little bit behind trying to get ahead of the game. They were always ahead of the game.”

Anuj Rawat, a wicketkeeper-batsman who hit 48, and Dinesh Karthik, 38 not out, steadied the ship and then took the attack to the opposition in their partnership of 95 in 50 balls.

In reply, Chennai’s batsmen including IPL debutant Ravindra, who hit a 15-ball 37, got starts but lost regular wickets.

Green struck with two key wickets including Rahane (27) and Daryl Mitchell (22) with his fast-medium bowling but Jadeja kept the chase going.

Dube, who came in as impact substitute in place of Mustafizur, and Jadeja ensured the team sailed through.

Organisers have released only the first two weeks of the IPL schedule so far because it clashes with India’s six-week-long general election. Last season the 10-team IPL lasted eight weeks.

(Reuters)

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