Ruturaj Gaikwad's 50-ball 92 guided Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to post a competitive total of 178/7 in 20 overs against defending champions Gujarat Titans in the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL) opener here at Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday.
Gaikwad's scintillating 92-run innings was decorated with four boundaries and nine maximums. Alzarri Joseph was the pick of the bowler, who struck twice in the 18th over after conceding 18 runs off his first over to claim the big wickets of Gaikwad and Ravindra Jadeja.
Asked to bat first, Chennai had a cautious start with just two runs coming off the first over. Then, Ruturaj Gaikwad hit Titans' skipper Hardik Pandya for two boundaries through midwicket to pace up the innings.
Shami came to attack in the third over and drew the first blood in the form of Devon Conway to claim his 100th IPL wicket. Conway aimed for a drive but missed it and got bowled as the ball clattered into the middle stump and Moeen Ali came to join Gaikwad.
Next over after Conway's dismissal, Gaikwad shifted gears and hit debutant Joshua Little for a back-to-back boundary and a maximum with Moeen also getting a four, taking 15 runs off the over.
The next over, after a dot and a single, Moeen hit a four. The pressure got to Shami as he sent down a no-ball and Moeen took full advantage of it, slicing it over the long-off boundary for a flat six off the free-hit. He then pulled it away through midwicket for four more.
In the sixth over, Pandya brought Rashid Khan into the attack. After a dot ball, the spinner almost got Moeen, who missed a sweep and Rashid appealed for LBW, which the former successfully reviewed as the ball pitched outside the leg stump. He then danced down the pitch and lofted it over Rashid's head for a boundary.
Rashid struck right back after the boundary to dismiss Moeen, who look to go over extra cover but edged it behind where Wriddhiman Saha clung onto the catch, reducing CSK 51/2 after the powerplay.
The next over Gaikwad hit Pandya for back-to-back maximums before Rashid claimed his second in the eighth over, removing Ben Stokes, who tried to punch it through cover but the ball skid sharply, taking a nick to the keeper giving another good catch to Saha.
The next over Gaikwad brought up his 11th IPL fifty with a magnificent six off the bowling of Joseph. He completed his half-century off just 23 balls with five maximums and three boundaries. Halfway through, Chennai was reeling at 93/3.
Gaikwad was on another level as he was mostly dealing with boundaries, showcasing his impressive skills. Ambati Rayudu joined the party, hitting a brilliant six over midwicket.
A couple of balls later, Gaikwad went for a six but Kane Williamson showcased an excellent effort at the midwicket boundary as he caught the ball and flicked it in the air before going over the ropes. But in the process, he hurt his right knee and was seemingly in a lot of pain.
After a single on the next ball, Little got his maiden IPL wicket in the 13th over, sending Rayudu (12) back, who look to swing down the ground but was beaten on the edge and the ball clattered into the stumps.
Titans' bowlers managed to put a leash on CSK's run rate with just 19 runs coming off the next three overs. That's where CSK lost momentum.
Joseph came into the attack in the 18th over and denied Gaikwad a century as he got him on a full toss. Gaikwad was looking to whack that away to the fence, but couldn't get much elevation and Shubman Gill at long-on was quick to take an impressive diving catch, bringing an end to Gaikwad's outstanding 92-run inning.
CSK lost another wicket in quick succession when Joseph trapped Ravindra Jadeja, who flicked the ball to deep midwicket for a maximum but Shankar took an easy one.
In the penultimate over of the inning, Shami created a chance to trap Shivam Dube, who went for a pull against this short ball but got a top edge toward fine leg, Saha sprinted back and dived in but the ball was out of his reach.
The next ball Dube hit Shami for a six and fell on the next delivery when he went for another hook but ended up getting a top edge and the ball went straight to Rashid at deep square leg.
In the final over of the inning, after a couple of singles, Dhoni showcased his vintage style as he dispatched the ball over deep square for a towering six leaving fans chanting Dhoni... Dhoni...Dhoni. He followed it up with a four. After a dot a ball, Dhoni finished it up with a single.
CSK 178/7 in 20 overs (Ruturaj Gaikwad 92, Moeen Ali 23; Rashid Khan 2-26 Alzarri Joseph 2-33) v Gujarat Titans.