Scintillating efforts by old warhorses Ajinkya Rahane (61 runs; 27b, 7×4, 3×6) and Ravindra Jadeja (4-0-20-3) helped Chennai Super Kings beat Mumbai Indians by 7 wickets in a marquee league match of the IPL 2023 at a packed Wankhede Stadium on a humid Saturday night. Set a modest 158 for victory, CSK romped home with 11 balls to spare.
The veteran Rahane, who has represented numerous IPL teams over the years, rolled back the clock, reaching his half-century in only 19 balls, to record this season’s fastest 50 in the league. The other in-form batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad batted watchfully to score 40* (36b, 2×4, 1×6). The win took CSK to two wins in three games, while MI, the five-time IPL champions, are yet to open their account in the points tally after back-to-back losses.
Rahane was thrilled with his batting, and spoke to JioCinema, saying: “It all boils down to how badly you want to play and how hungry you are to play. I always aim to play and contribute to my team’s cause. Especially when I came to know that CSK had bid for me, I was happy. I had heard a lot about the atmosphere in the dressing room. But when I came here, I actually experienced it. It is a wonderful atmosphere. That helps a player relax. Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni) gives every player the freedom to play.”
Speaking about Rahane’s batting, Suresh Raina, one of CSK’s all-time greats said on JioCinema: “This is the strength of the yellow jersey! As we discussed mid-innings, both Rahane and Ruturaj are players from Mumbai and Maharashtra respectively and understand these pitches very well. So, they used the opportunity very well. This will be a sweet headache for Mahi bhai when Moeen Ali returns to the fold.”
Former India cricketer Parthiv Patel on JioCinema said: “No one would have expected that the fastest 50 of the IPL would come from Ajinkya Rahane, even though he has the batting ability and bats really well. But, a 50 in 19 balls is something no one would have thought of especially after how he has batted in the last few years. The way he batted against Arshad Khan in that over today where he struck 6, 4, 4,4, 4, we got to see all types of shots from him. If you look at his wagon wheel too you will see he scored all around the park.”
Patel recalled Rahane’s struggles during the IPL in the past few years, saying: “Throughout the innings, it never looked like Rahane was taking risks. He always looked in control. He would be really happy because there was a stamp on him that he can’t bat in T20s. Because in the last two years once he remained unsold and Delhi released him once. So, in that context, he would be thrilled with his performance.”
Man-of-the-match Jadeja and his spin bowling partner Mitchell Santner (2/28) too came in for high praise from Raina, who said: “Jadeja is bringing all his experience into play. The partnership that he has had with Santner looks very strong. The way Jadeja got Tilak Varma out showed that he is bowling with great discipline. Also, the catch he took shows how positive a frame of mind he is in today.” (ANI)