The opening game of the 2019 Indian Premier League proved to be a damp squib with Royal Challengers Bangalore getting bowled out for 70 against three-time IPL champions Chennai Super Kings. During the chase, MS Dhoni’s side struggled to get going but they still managed to register a magnificent win by seven wickets to start their campaign on a high. This was the seventh consecutive win for Chennai Super Kings against Royal Challengers Bangalore, stretching back to 2013 when they won a thrilling game on the last ball. Although CSK got their campaign off to a great start, the nature of the wicket at the MA Chidambaram stadium drew plenty of criticism, including from the skippers Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni.
Kohli, although not directly criticising the pitch, blamed the poor batting for being bowled out for a low score. “The batting wasn't good, it wasn't easy to bat on, looked much better surface though, I thought 140-150 would have been an ideal score, especially with dew expected later on. A scrappy start to the league, but I don't think either team had control over it, the pitch was under the covers for 4 days, but we should have batted better, 110-120 would have been a fighting score,” Kohli said. Parthiv Patel was the only batsman to get to double figures, scoring 29 while the rest of the batting managed scores of just 6,9,9,0,2,4,2,4,1 and 0.
Dhoni, though, was more critical of the pitch and said if this is the quality of wickets, it will be very difficult for them and urged for better wickets. “I never expected the wicket to play how it actually played and it was too slow and it just reminded me of the 2011 Champions League wicket. After the IPL, we came back and we had a really good season, the wicket got relaid and all of a sudden we found it very difficult. I feel if the wicket stays like this, it will be tough for us also. The wicket definitely needs to be a lot better than where it is right now, even with dew it was still spinning big,” Dhoni said.
Chennai Super Kings’ next game will be against Delhi Capitals at the Feroz Shah Kotla while their next home fixture will be on March 31 against Rajasthan Royals. Royal Challengers Bangalore will play their first home game on March 28 against Mumbai Indians.