A brilliant bowling effort at the tail-end of the first innings and a mighty century-stand between Ambati Rayudu and Faf du Plessis saw Chennai end their five-match losing streak against Mumbai and register a five-wicket victory over their rivals in the Indian T20 League 2020 season opener.

While it was only the first game of what will be a long season, a lot unravelled in the contest. Below, we look at the biggest talking points from the match.

Rayudu to the rescue

Down two wickets in just the second over, Chennai were seemingly slipping to another defeat at the hands of rivals Mumbai. But in walked former Mumbai player Ambati Rayudu to bite the hand that once fed him. The 34-year-old took Mumbai’s attack to the cleaners, scoring a brilliant 71 off 48 balls to guide CHE to victory. 

Drought in the desert

Mumbai’s defeat extended their winless run in UAE to six games. The four-time champions lost all five games in the 2014 season when the early parts of that year’s campaign were held in the desert nation. With the entire tournament scheduled to be held in the UAE, Mumbai will likely end the run at some point, but it remains to be seen when.

Is Rohit Sharma reliable?

Rohit Sharma is undoubtedly one of the best white-ball batsmen on the planet but his Indian T20 League record over the past two campaigns has been lacklustre. In his last 26 outings with the bat, Sharma has as many ducks as he has scores of over 50 (three each). In fact, Sharma has failed to cross 25 in 17 of those 26 innings, an extremely mediocre return from a world-class batsman.

Curran’s class debut

Chennai raised a lot of eyebrows when they bought English all-rounder Sam Curran in the auction, but the youngster delivered on his debut with both bat and ball, justifying the faith that Chennai’s think-tank had in him. Curran bowled four overs and gave away just 28 runs while picking up the prized wicket of Quinton de Kock, who was looking in the terrific nick for Mumbai. With the bat, Curran came in as the pinch-hitter ahead of MS Dhoni and scored 18 off just six balls to end the match as a contest.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Arun Sankar