Harbhajan Singh bowls CSK to victory
Niji Narayan  |  Sun 24th Mar   | Cricket

It was business as usual for Chennai Super Kings (CSK). The Indian Premier League (IPL) started, and they habitually started doing all the right things – that too on a pitch that surprised both the opposition players and commentators.

On an uncharacteristically slow and turning pitch at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, CSK made mincemeat of the star-studded Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). First, they bundled out RCB for a paltry 70. Then they took their own sweet time to get past the modest target.

CSK have begun their title defense in right earnest.

Harbhajan Singh Makes Merry

CSK skipper MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to field first. He unleashed Harbhajan Singh on the unsuspecting RCB batters on this treachery peach. Harbhajan showed that he is still the wily off-spinner he once was.

He started with the prize scalp of Virat Kohli, arguably the best batsman in the world right now. Kohli struggled for timing right through in his brief stay. He eventually holed out in the deep. Harbhajan then foxed Moeen Ali with a change of pace. The icing on the cake was the wicket of AB de Villiers. With three top-order wickets, he single-handedly broke the backbone of RCB’s batting line-up.

The Bangalore outfit never recovered from this onslaught. They lost a wicket in almost every other over. The innings folded at the 16th over for just 70 runs.

Virat Kohli could not hide his disappointment at the team’s batting:

“No team wants to start like this … I know the batting effort wasn’t ideal… The wicket looked much better than it played. We thought 140-150 would be an ideal score.”

CSK Chase the Target Without Much Fuzz

RCB needed early wickets to put pressure on the Chennai team. They got one, as Shane Watson departed without scoring in the third over. But one was never going to be enough. Kohli tried to attack, but Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu kept the scoreboard moving without taking any risks.

CSK batsmen did not look much comfortable on this pitch. However, all they needed to get was just 71 runs. They crossed the line on the 18th over.

Dhoni too said the pitch was difficult to bat on:

“We were not really sure about the wicket, we played our practice game here but it wasn’t turning that much. I never expected the wicket to play how it played. I think something close to 140 you are looking at. I think the wicket needs to get much better.”

Harbhajan Singh was declared man of the match for his terrific bowling effort.

In today’s matches, Kolkata Knight Riders will take on Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Mumbai Indians will face Delhi Capitals.

Niji Narayan