The worst fear of Chennai Super Kings fans came true as Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men crashed to yet another embarrassing defeat and made an inglorious early exit from the Dream11 Indian Premier League on Friday.
The miseries for CSK continued at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium when arch rivals Mumbai Indians handed them eighth defeat of the season with a massive ten-wicket victory in the 41st match of the season.
Prior to this outing, CSK were required to win all their remaining four matches to stay in the race for a playoffs berth. But contrary to the expectations, CSK proved no match for their opponents as MI outclassed them in every department of the game.
With a huge win, defending champions MI took their points tally to 14 and regained their numero uno position in the points table.
On the other hand, the rest of the three matches became inconsequential for CSK as they remained at the bottom of the table with just six points against their name.
Chasing a scanty target of 115, MI openers Ishan Kishan and Quinton de Kock rubbed the salt into the wounds of CSK by guiding their side without getting separated in just 12.2 overs.
An unbeaten 116-run opening wicket stand between left-handers de Kock and Kishan ensured they avenged their earlier defeat against CSK. The two teams kick-started the league in Abu Dhabi on September 19 when CSK beat MI by five wickets, courtesy Ambati Rayudu’s fifty.
Kishan slammed the second half-century of the season by cracking an unbeaten 68 off 37 balls. The diminutive opener smashed six fours and five towering sixes. De Kock remained unbeaten on 46 (37 balls, 5×4, 2×6) to extend his excellent form with the willow.
It was the highest opening partnership for MI in IPL 2020. The previous beat was 94 runs by Rohit Sharma and de Kock against KKR at Abu Dhabi.
Earlier put into bat by MI stand-in skipper Kieron Pollard, CKS batsmen came a cropper and put up a disappointing show. Despite Sam Curran’s fighting half-century, the three-time former champions managed to muster just 114 for 9.
The total was given some respectability by Curran, who waged a lone battle with 52 off 47 balls. The left-hander struck four boundaries and a couple of sixes to bail his side out.
At one stage, CSK were reeling at 43 for 7 and it looked they would not even cross the 100-run mark. Trent Boult was wrecker-in-chief as the left-arm paceman rattled the CSK top-order with a sensational piece of swing bowling. The New Zealander picked up three wickets in the first spell before coming back again to dismiss Curran. He returned with an impressive bowling figures of 4-1-18-4.
Curran was involved in two crucial partnerships to boost the total. First he added 28 runs for the eighth wicket with Shardul Thakur (11) and then stitched together a 43-run stand for the ninth wicket with Imran Tahir, who remained unbeaten on 13 off 10 balls.
In the last five overs, CSK did a lot better and added crucial 43 runs for the loss of solitary wicket.
Jasprit Bumrah (2-25) and Rahul Chahar (2-22) gave able support to Boult to restrict CSK.
On Saturday there will be another double-decker. In the afternoon clash, Kolkata Knight Riders (10 points) will square off against Delhi Capitals (14 points) at Abu Dhabi, while Kings XI Punjab (8 points) will lock horns with Sunrisers Hyderabad (8 points) at Dubai.
Chennai Super Kings 114 for 9 in 20 overs (Sam Curran 52, MS Dhoni 16, Imran Tahir 13 not out, Shardul Thakur 11; Trent Boult 4-18, Jasprit Bumrah 2-25, Rahul Chahar 2-22, Nathan Coulter-Nile 1-25) lost to Mumbai Indians 116 for no loss in 12.2 overs (Ishan Kishan 68 not out, Quinton de Kock 46 not out) by ten wickets.
Man-of-the-match: Trent Boult (Mumbai Indians).