CSK were asked to bat first after losing the toss. Gaikwad and Devon Conway (47 off 29) added 110 for the opening wicket in only 9.1 overs as Chennai’s innings got off to a scintillating start. Gaikwad struck three fours and four sixes before falling to Ravi Bishnoi (3/28). Conway was the next to go as he miscued a pull of Mark Wood (3/49) and was brilliantly caught by Krunal Pandya.
Shivam Dube (27 off 16), Moeen (19 off 13), Ambati Rayudu (27 not out off 14) and MS Dhoni (12 off 3) all played impressive cameos to ensure Chennai got past 215. Their combined efforts meant the dual batting failures of all-rounders Ben Stokes (8) and Ravindra Jadeja (3) did not hurt the team’s cause.
Chasing 218, Lucknow’s hopes were boosted as Kyle Mayers smashed 53 off only 22 balls. He smashed eight fours and two sixes before being sent back by Moeen. Deepak Hooda 92) fell to Mitchell Santner after which Moeen had LSG captain KL Rahul (20) caught off a slog sweep.
The Chennai all-rounder also sent back Krunal Pandya (9) and Marcus Stoinis (21) to put his team on top. Cameos from Nicholas Pooran (32 off 18), Ayush Badoni (23 off 18), Krishnappa Gowtham (17 not out off 11) and Wood (10 not out off 3) reduced the margin of deficit as LSG crossed the 200-run mark and ended on 205/7.
Speaking after the win, CSK skipper Dhoni described the match as a terrific high-scoring game. He commented, “All of us were thinking how the wicket would be. It was the perfect first game that could happen. I thought it would be much slower. But it was a wicket where you could score runs. I was quite surprised with the wicket. But we'll have to see if we can produce a wicket like this game after game.”
MSD, however, opined that the fast bowling department needs to improve and also issued a warning over wides and no-balls. He said, “Need to bowl according to the conditions. What is important is to keep an eye as to what the opposition bowlers are doing. One more thing is they'll have to bowl no no-balls or extra wides. Or they'll have to play under a new captain. It will be my second warning and then I'll be off. Only reason we've scored those runs is if the surface is nice.”
--By A Cricket Correspondent