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Indian Premier League 2019

IPL 2019 daily brief: Another hard grind for batsmen at Chepauk

by Rishad D'Souza 4 minute read
Image credit – AFP

Kolkata Knight Riders suffered a seven-wicket defeat at Chepauk on Tuesday, April 9. That was down to the Andre Russell threat being kept down to a certain extent. However, the same couldn’t be said about the threat from the Chepauk pitch.

This was Chennai’s sixth successive win at home, four of which have come this season. But while the crowd was thrilled to bits as the home team’s spinners weaved webs around Kolkata’s in-form batsmen, concerns over the slow and sluggish surface continued to dominate headlines.

What’s hot

The Chennai bowling attack. The spin duo of Imran Tahir and Harbhajan Singh have been on top of their games since the start of the tournament. Against Kolkata, they expertly exploited the turn on offer to snare four wickets in eight overs between them, for 36 runs.

While Harbhajan, who opened the bowling, was great in the initial exchanges, Imran Tahir excelled through the middle overs, even containing Andre Russell, who made a lot more sedate 44-ball 50*, as compared to his manic hitting in the earlier games.

But what really stood out on a pitch that had relatively little in it for the pacers is Deepak Chahar’s ability to extract swing to trouble the batsmen. He took three wickets with the new ball to set things up nicely for the spinners. It resulted in Kolkata posting 108/9 in 20 overs.

What’s not

The Chepauk pitch.Β It looked worn out, took a bit too much turn and also generated variable bounce, bearing more resemblance to a day 4 Test-match surface than one for a T20 game.

These were the same issues that plagued batsmen in the tournament opener at the same venue, when Royal Challengers Bangalore were bowled out for 70, and Chennai chased it down in 17.4 overs.

Barring Russell, who benefitted from a couple of dropped chances, and Faf du Plessis, who crafted 43 at just under a run a ball,Β the majority of batsmen struggled. There has been talk of not awarding the final to the venue because of the sealed off stands that make for bad TV viewing, but the pitch should be a consideration as well.

What they said

“I don’t think we want to be playing on these tracks.”

– MS Dhoni wants to see ’em big hits

What they didn’t say

“I am the rightful Thala (leader), I hail from this city.”

– Lifelong Chennai boy Dinesh Karthik

What’s next

Mumbai Indians will be out looking for some payback. Mumbai and Kings XI Punjab share a closely-contested rivalry – the head-to-head record stands at 12-11 in favour of the former. Punjab drew first blood this season, defeating the three-time champions by eight wickets at home in Mohali. Mumbai will now look to settle the scores and continue their upward surge.

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