Slider

Indian T20 League 2021: Ruturaj Gaikwad Steals The Show For Team Chennai

The 2021 edition of the Indian T20 League 2021 has restarted after a long break at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday with Team Chennai winning the fixture against Team Mumbai. The match between Team Mumbai and Team Chennai – two of the most successful teams in the league – is often dubbed the El Clasico of T20 cricket, and the fixture on Sunday certainly lived up to its name. After losing the first five wickets in the span of minutes, Team Chennai engineered a remarkable turnaround to ultimately win the fixture and net two points to their tally.

Here are our highlights of the Team Mumbai vs Team Chennai fixture:

BOULT AND MILNE STRIKE EARLY

Trent Boult has made a name for himself as the most successful powerplay bowler the last time the Indian T20 League was played in the UAE. The New Zealand swinger once again showed his potency, as he landed blow after blow on Team Chennai’s openers, finding swing and hitting legs regularly. Faf du Plessis was the first casualty, as he chased an unnecessary ball only to find Adam Milne at short third man. Moeen Ali was the next to go for a duck, misreading Adam Milne’s ball and sending the ball up in the air for an easy catch in the covers. Milne built on his superb form in the Hundred on Sunday, bamboozling bowlers with his deliveries. Ambati Rayudu was the main casualty as he misread the bounce on the ball, which hit him on the left elbow and forcing him to retire hurt just three balls in.

Team Chennai’s hopes then rested on veterans Suresh Raina and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, but both batsmen failed to steady the innings. Raina struggled with the short balls from Boult and had to resort to swinging the bat in an effort to build momentum. His first attempt resulted in a much-needed boundary, but the second time it ended up damaging his bat and cost him his wicket. Captain Cool would stay at the crease for just five balls, as he succumbed to a poorly played pull-shot only to find Boult at deep backward square leg.

RUTURAJ GAIKWAD LEADS THE FIGHTBACK

Team Chennai were 7-3 when they lost Ambati Rayudu to an injury – with an effective score of 7/4, the match looked like it was Team Mumbai’s to win. Ruturaj Gaikwad, who survived an early scare in the first over but looked solid afterwards, could only look on in dismay as veteran players were dismissed for cheap. But Ravindra Jadeja, who has excelled in England and has been a saviour for Team Chennai numerous times in the past, combined with Gaikwad to steady the boat. The duo could only manage singles and twos, playing conservatively in an effort to last long into the night. Team Chennai scored just 44 runs in 10 overs, but with both batsmen in double-digits, the team could well hope for a good finish.

FIREWORKS AT THE END

Team Chennai are well-known for their explosive finishers – the likes of Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo and Shardul Thakur all have the ability to pile on runs in the final overs, apart from India’s best finisher, MS Dhoni. Ravindra Jadeja tried to recreate the magic he had so successfully created in the past, but he could not find the spark on Sunday as he succumbed to Jasprit Bumrah’s slower ball. That brought Dwayne Bravo to the crease, and he combined with Gaikwad to build an explosive 19th over, adding 24 runs with three sixes and a four – the most runs Trent Boult has conceded in T20s. Gaikwad showed that he feared no bowler, launching Jasprit Bumrah’s balls for a six and a four in the last over to take Team Chennai to a comfortable score of 156/6.

MUMBAI FAIL TO FIND THE SPARK

Team Mumbai have chased huge totals in the past, but Sunday’s fixture was different as they were missing their captain and talisman Rohit Sharma. The team felt his absence while fielding when Kieran Pollard, the substitute captain, had no answer to Gaikwad and Jadeja’s partnership in the middle overs. On the other hand, Team Chennai are blessed with one of the most astute and tactical captains in the game – and it was he who led the team to victory while fielding.

The chase started off on a positive note for Team Mumbai as Quinton de Kock and Anmolpreet Singh made a steady start – with de Kock hitting two boundaries off Josh Hazlewood’s first over. Deepak Chahar was the first to strike a blow, sending both the openers home in his opening spell. Shardul Thakur took out the danger man Surya Kumar Yadav in the powerplay, and Team Chennai were able to contain Team Mumbai’s batsmen from exploding by some superb fielding.

Saurabh Tiwary tried to steady the boat with singles and twos from one end of the crease, but neither Ishan Kishan nor captain Kieran Pollars could last long enough to give him support. Dhoni’s decision to drop Ravindra Jadeja after just one over when he conceded 13 runs to Pollard worked in their favour – as Hazlewood and DJ Bravo tore through Team Mumbai’s lower-order to give Team Chennai a decisive victory.

LOOKING AHEAD

With their win, Team Chennai are now at the top of the table with 12 points from 8 fixtures, and a positive NRR of 1.233. The team which so often relies on team effort to win their matches have managed to do just that once again, and they remain one of the favourites to win this edition of the Indian T20 League after a disastrous exit last year. For Team Mumbai, the absence of skipper Rohit Sharma was keenly felt, but this is likely to be a one-off episode. By all counts, Team Mumbai are the strongest team in the league, and they have the potential to bounce back quickly.