In MS Dhoni's absence, Mumbai Indians became the first team to beat Chennai Super Kings at Chepauk since 2015. The Rohit Sharma-led side beat Chennai for the second time this season after being put in to bat on a slow wicket. A half-century from the skipper and a late flourish from Hardik Pandya took them to a par total before their spinners had Chennai in a web to churn out a 46-run win.
Here are the some of the key moments from the match:
When Dhoni's absence was felt behind the stumps
Harbhajan Singh had troubled Evin Lewis the first time he bowled to him on Friday. The West Indian seemed unsure in dealing with the off-spinner and resorted to two awkward sweeps only to miss both attempts. When Harbhajan came back again, Lewis was stuck to his crease and looked to play him off the pitch.
Off the final ball of the Powerplay overs, Harbhajan spun one past Lewis' defensive stroke. There was not even the slightest of appeal from the CSK fielders but the ultra-edge later revealed that Lewis had edged the ball to the stand-in wicket-keeper, Ambati Rayudu. Neither Harbhajan nor Rayudu noticed the edge, though, and Lewis gained a life. MSD, surely missed, right?
Rohit takes on Harbhajan
Rohit Sharma has had his share of troubles against spinners in the recent past and given this record, he wasn't really expected to fire on the sluggish Chepauk wicket. But the Mumbai Indians skipper seemed determined from the word go and started his innings with a boundary off Deepak Chahar's outswinger off the first ball of the game.
However, his battle with Harbhajan was the toast of the evening. The opener took on his former Mumbai Indians teammate when he came back for a final over after the Powerplay. Rohit was on 20 off 17 balls and needed to kick on with the surface only expected to get slower.
When Harbhajan came in for the 8th over, Rohit greeted him by stepping down the track and lofting him over mid-wicket. Though he did not quite get to the pitch of the ball and sliced his shot, it had enough oomph to clear the fence. Two balls later, he thumped him down the ground for another maximum, once again relying on power than timing to clear the fence.
Left-arm spinners rule the roost at Chepauk
With the surface slowing down as the game progressed, spinners were expected to play a big role and both sides had plenty of options. Though Imran Tahir, Harbhajanand Rahul Chahar were the three most successful spinners in terms of wickets heading into this game, it was the left-arm spinners – Krunal Pandya, Mitchell Santner and Anukul Roy – who made an impact.
The two leg-spinners and the veteran off-spinner took just one wicket between them while the three left-arm orthodox spinners took five wickets, going at a considerably lesser rate. Mitchell Santner was effective for Chennai in the first innings and sent back the set batsmen, Evin Lewis and Rohit Sharma.
In the run-chase, Krunal Pandya dented Chennai with two massive wickets of Ambati Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav while Anukul chipped in with the wicket of Dhruv Shorey on his IPL debut. The three left-arm spinners went for just 31 runs in nine overs, taking five wickets between them.
When the zing bails dislodged for once
The zing bails had been in the spotlight this season for their stubborn nature. On quite a few occasions, bails failed to dislodge despite the ball hitting the stumps or the bail itself. Dhawal Kulkarni, Jofra Archer, MS Dhoni and Umesh Yadav were all at the receiving end of zing bails' failing to dislodge despite impact.
On Friday though, we saw that the bail redeem itself at Chepauk when Krunal Pandya had Kedar Jadhav bowled. The left-arm spinner came around the wicket and eked out an inside edge from Jadhav. The ball went on to pitch once after the edge and then hit the stumps with a much lesser impact force. Given the behaviour the bails had exhibited earlier in the season, Jadhav was perhaps a tad shocked to see the one bail come off after impact.
Soft signal leaves Murali Vijay hard done by
Murali Vijay was playing his first IPL game of the season and immediately made his presence felt at the top of the order for Chennai Super Kings. With Shane Watson dismissed early and Suresh Raina following suit, the onus was on Vijay and Rayudu to carry on the run-chase. Rayudu was cleaned up by Krunal for nought but Vijay fought on.
After Anukul gave him a life early on, Vijay hit a four and a six off Hardik Pandya to get into groove. Wickets kept tumbling at the other end and Vijay watched helplessly hoping that one of his mates would help him take the game deep. On 38 off 34 balls, and more accustomed to the slowness of the track, Vijay half-heartedly cut a back of a length delivery from Bumrah to point. Suryakumar Yadav was the fielder at the position and with the ball dying on him, the Mumbaikar jumped forward and pouched the catch.
There was uncertainty on whether Yadav had taken the catch cleanly and the umpires referred to the third umpire, with the soft signal being out. Replays of the catch were inconclusive and there was not much scope to overturn the on-field soft signal. The third umpire went with the on-field umpire's call and Vijay had to take the long walk back.