Both Chennai Super Kings and Lucknow Super Giants squared off on Thursday in a quest for two crucial points at the Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai. Both the teams had a similar opening encounter where openers failed to score, lost decent wickets in the powerplay, the middle-order preserved the collapse, and a deficient bowling line-up could not bail out the match. KL Rahul flipped the right side and elected to bowl first in a zippy Brabourne outfield.
The previous match played at the Brabourne was fitting for pace bowlers as it generated extra bounce halfway through the pitch. However, this time around, the surface was sound for the batters. Back into the opening regime, Robin Uthappa smashed Avesh Khan in the opening over for two consecutive boundaries over the deep-square leg and deep cover region. However, Lucknow soon got its breakthrough as Gaikwad was strangled halfway through the wicket when Ravi Bishnoi executed a direct hit.
Following their fiasco against the spinners in the first match, Chennai rebounded with Moeen Ali, who plays with a scoring rate of 164 (T20s) against the spinsters. The 34-year old announced his arrival by thrashing Krunal Pandya for 15 inside the powerplay. The havoc generated by Robin and Moeen helped Chennai to register 73 in the powerplay overs, which was also the highest powerplay total this season. When the game was slipping away from Lucknow, Bishnoi deceived Uthappa with a slider and culminated his explosive innings. Post that, Moeen had to return to the pavilion as Avesh Khan lit the off stump.
Shivam Dube, the next man in, also initiated his innings with three boundaries off Dushmantha Chameera’s over. Unlike the first game, Chennai’s body language in this encounter was a lot more assertive and composed. On the contrary, Lucknow was sloppy in the field as they stumbled upon many missed opportunities. The 60-run partnership between Dube and Rayudu capitalized on the middle overs and the startling entry of dew in the slog overs further benefited the Chennai batters. The finishing touches by Dhoni (16 off 6) and the heroics of Dube (49 off 30), Uthappa (50 off 27), and Moeen (35 off 22) secured a massive total of 210 for Chennai.
In pursuit of 211, Lucknow started on a nervy note before KL Rahul punched debutant Mukesh Choudhary for a maximum over cover. Consequently, Quinton de Kock trounced Tushar Deshpande for three boundaries in the 4th over. The duo of Rahul and Quinton forged an impeccable start as Lucknow attained 55 in the powerplay. They also posted the highest opening partnership (99) of this year’s IPL. The game was evenly poised before the debutant Dwaine Pretorius got rid of KL Rahul (40 off 26) with a slower delivery outside off stump.
Post Rahul’s wicket, Lucknow was tormented with constant dot deliveries, surging the required rate to 12 per over. Quinton, who was dropped at 30, went on to score 61 off 45 but was deceived by a slower one by Pretorius. The South African Pretorius had a remarkable debut with the bowl; he bestowed two crucial breakthroughs in the middle overs and flashed different variations with an effective slower one.
The game was in command of Chennai before young Ayush Badoni and Evin Lewis changed the course of the game in the penultimate over. Ayush Badoni swept Shivam Dube for a maximum and Evin hammered three consecutive boundaries to bring the equation down to 9 in the last over. The duo obtained 25 runs in the penultimate over bowled by Shivam Dube. The Trinidadian batter Lewis also secured the fastest IPL fifty for this season by scoring 55 off 23 deliveries.
The pyrotechnics of Evin Lewis ensured Lucknow’s first victory in the TATA IPL. Conversely, the Ravindra Jadeja-led Chennai Super Kings are yet to obtain their first two points in the tournament. Moreover, the defeat against Lucknow has deteriorated Chennai’s net run rate, which could be a predicament in the latter half of the season.
Brief Scores: Lucknow Super Giants 211/4 (Quinton de Kock 61, Evin Lewis, 55; Dwaine Pretorius 2/31) beat Chennai Super Kings 210/7 (Robin Uthappa 50, Shivam Dube 49; Ravi Bishnoi 2/24)