Mumbai' struggle on UAE soil continued on Saturday as Chennai, despite a rather difficult start, came back strongly to win the 2020 Indian T20 League opener by five wickets.
The defending champions started on the front foot, with Rohit Sharma opening the honours with a boundary, but soon after the openers were disMumbaissed, Chennai took control of the situation. A win for Chennai means their captain MS Dhoni now has 100 wins for Chennai in the Indian T20 League. The 39-year-old has captained in 161 matches, won 100, lost 60.
Chawla in the league of greats
Despite a strong start, Mumbai stumbled to the bowling brilliance of Piyush Chawla, who ended his day conceding just 21 runs in four overs while picking a wicket. While his return may not have been flattering, the timing of it certainly proved crucial. Both Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock had given Mumbai a positive start, scoring 45 runs in the opening four overs. And after Ngidi was hit for 18 runs in his opening over, momentum was well and truly on Mumbai’s side.
|Most wickets in IPL|
On came Chawla and the picture changed. After having conceded a solitary run in his first three deliveries, the former Kolkata spinner got the better of Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma and set the stage for what was to come. The 31-year-old gave away just three runs in his opening over, which, in a way, paved the way for others to pile on the pressure on Mumbai. Even the likes of Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya struggled to do anything positive.
He had a solitary wicket to his name on the night, but that was enough for him to get into the league of greats, as this return means he is now the third-highest wicket-taker in IPL’s history (151 wickets), behind only Lasith Malinga (170) and Amit Mishra (157).
Watson’s struggle against Mumbai continues
Shane Watson is Chennai’s second-highest runscorer against Mumbai, but his returns against the defending champions haven’t oozed any sort confidence of late. Opening the partnership alongside Murali Vijay, the Australian was dismissed for four, which is now his third single-digit dismissal against Mumbai in his last five outings.
|Watson vs Mumbai in last 5 inns in IPL|
|Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi||9-Sep-20||4|
|Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium||12-May-19||80|
|MA Chidambaram Stadium||7-May-19||10|
|MA Chidambaram Stadium||26-Apr-19||8|
His outstanding performance in last year’s final (80 off 59) remains his highest return, while his other scores read 5, 8, 10 and 4. Meanwhile, early in the game, the 39-year-old became the eighth Australian to take 100 catches as an outfielder when he played his role in disMumbaissing Quinton de Kock. Also, it was the first time that he was disMumbaissed by Trent Boult in the IPL.
Mumbai’ opening game voodoo
Mumbai, since the inaugural edition of the Indian T20 League, have won just four of their 13 opening games, with their last victory coming way back in 2012 against Chennai. Since 2013, the Rohit Sharma-led side has lost to Bangalore once, Kolkata, Pune and Chennai twice, and Delhi once.
|Mumbai in their season-opening games in IPL|
|2009||Chennai||19 Runs||Won||Cape Town|
|2010||Rajasthan||4 runs||Won||Mumbai (BS)|
|2014||Kolkata||41 runs||Lost||Abu Dhabi|
|2020||Chennai||5 wickets||Lost||Abu Dhabi|
This was, in fact, their sixth defeat in the United Arab Emirates, meaning that they are still winless at the venue. All of their last five defeats came in the 2014 edition of the tournament. The positive sign, however, was the fact that this was their highest return in the powerplay overs (51) in/ the UAE.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter/Indian T20 League