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An Unexpected IPL Opener

The extravaganza of Indian Premier League 2019 began yesterday with not-so-extravagant opening match. IPL is known for it’s over the top and high profile opening ceremonies which honestly, are just a waste of money and time. Thus, this year, due to the unfortunate attack on the CRPF soldiers in Pulwama in February, BCCI decided not to host an opening ceremony and donate that amount to the army. Chennai Super Kings too donated the proceedings of their match tickets to the armed forces as a tribute.

All said and done, the fans were keenly looking forward to a game where big players play big shots and big runs are scored and a tough run chase keeps them on the edge of their seats. But the pitch at Chepauk had some different plans for the night. Chennai Super Kings on winning the toss chose to field first as Captain Dhoni was unsure of how the pitch will play and what would be a good score to set. You can call Dhoni cunning, wise or lucky, but it seemed like the pitch was told how to play by the CSKians. A spin strong bowling attack led by Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja broke the spine strong batting line up of the Royal Challenger Bangalore.

The Royal Challengers opened their batting with Virat Kohli and Parthiv Patel and had ABD, the newbie Shimron Hetmyer, Colin de Grandhomme to back them up but the pitch and CSK bowlers had some other plans for them. Before RCB could devise a plan to bat throughout their first innings, they were all down for just 70 runs. Their lowest total in IPL history.

The game would have been a close contest if the CSK had trouble figuring the pitch and crumbled the same way as RCB, but players like Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav do not let an easy game slip out of their hands. Yet, the RCB bowlers took two wickets and stretched the game till the 18th over but to no avail. CSK won the match comfortably with 7 wickets in their hands.

What went wrong?If IPL’s organising committee thought that Dhoni vs Kohli will get the house full and everyone glued to their TV sets/mobiles during the game with a blockbuster of a match then they were partially right. Surely everyone was interested to see the banter between two great captains and their teams and the stage was set for a big match but an extraordinary performance by CSK and an under-average performance by RCB was something no one expected. The role of the pitch was very crucial in this game since it was turning more than what was expected of it.

RCB needs to find a balance between their bowlers and their batsmen. They have a great core with Virat and ABD but their bowling line up needs confidence and lot of backing from their batting.

Even though CSK won the match, their fielding needs some serious improvement. Dropping important catches, mis-fielding and giving away unwanted runs is only going to affect them.

Certainly, both the teams have great takeaways from the game, but the fans definitely missed having a cracker of a match.

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