MS Dhoni slams pitch after Chennai crush Virat Kohli's Bangalore: IPL 2019 opener – in pictures

Here are some images from Super Kings' demolition of Royal Challengers in opening match at MA Chidambaram Stadium

MS Dhoni expressed unhappiness about the MA Chidambaram pitch even as his Chennai Super Kings made the ideal start to their Indian Premier League (IPL) title defence by crushing Royal Challengers Bangalore by seven wickets on Saturday.

The Dhoni v Virat Kohli showdown turned out to be a dud as former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh rolled back the years to take three Bangalore wickets, including that of Kohli, as the visitors – sent in to bat on a turning pitch – were shot out for a paltry 70 in 17.1 overs.

Only wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel got into double figures – he made 29 – as the Bangalore batting line-up proved clueless against Chennai's spin attack collapsing to the sixth-lowest total.

But Dhoni indirectly conceded Bangalore's performance was down to the surface they were playing on. He was surprised by what he saw, especially given how different the home team's experience was batting on the same strip during a practice match earlier this week.

"We played our practice game here but it wasn't turning that much," the wicketkeeper-batsman said. "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, even with dew it was spinning big... other teams have good spinners as well and this isn't the pitch we are looking forward to," he added.

The former India captain, though, lauded Harbhajan's efforts. "It was a very good bowling effort by him to give us a kind of start that was very well capitalised by the other spinners," Dhoni said.

"He has the kind of experience needed to bowl on this wicket. I don't think he would have minded bowling first or second here," he added.

Shortly after 'The Turbanator' accounted for the wickets of Kohli, Moeen Ali and AB de Villiers, it was time for another spinner to get into the act.

If Harbhajan finished with figures of 3-20, South Africa leg-spinner Imran Tahir did even better by taking 3-9, although Shivam Dube, Navdeep Saini and Yuzvendra Chahal are not exactly in the same class as that of the batsmen Harbhajan sent back to the pavilion.

Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja chipped in with two wickets, and seam-bowling all-rounder Dwayne Bravo took one. Shimron Hetmeyer was run out.

Raina crosses 5,000 mark

In response, Chennai took their time getting as much batting practice on the two-paced wicket as they took 17.4 overs to chase down the Bangalore total. They lost opener Shane Watson for nought after Chahal got the Australian bowled with his leg-spin.

Ambati Rayudu, who made 28, and Suresh Raina, who scored 19, then put on 32 runs for the second wicket to get the chase on track.

The left-handed Raina became the first batsman in IPL history to cross the 5000-run barrier during his 21-ball stay. Raina (5,004) is ahead of Kohli (4,954) in the IPL batting chart.

Moeen dismissed Raina and Rayudu was cleaned up by paceman Mohammed Siraj. Kedar Jadhav, on 13, and Ravindra Jadeja, on six, took the Super Kings home.

"No one wants to start like this, but it's good to get a game like this out of the way – this early in the tournament," said Kohli, who is yet win an IPL title."I thought CSK played really well, they deserved to win, but I loved to see our team fighting all the way."

Chennai are targeting a record fourth IPL title. They previously won it in 2010, 2011 and last year. Bangalore, on the other hand, have yet to be crowned champions of India's premier Twenty20 competition.

Updated: March 23, 2019 11:09 PM


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