MS Dhoni and CSK returned to play at their fortress Chepauk, the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, for the first time since 2019 as the tournament returns to the traditional home-and-away format after three seasons.
This homecoming of CSK is also more special as the IPL 2023 is expected to be the last of MS Dhoni.
In IPL 2019, the Chepauk surface was a very spin-friendly one, and CSK used it to their strength and won 6 of the 7 home matches that year. Therefore, in today’s match as well, the fans and many experts had hoped and predicted for the pitch to be difficult for batting and aid the spin bowlers with the ball to grip and turn.
However, it was a highly batting-friendly surface in the CSK-LSG encounter as CSK piled up 217/7 on the back of Ruturaj Gaikwad’s blazing century, Devon Conway’s terrific 47, and cameos from other batters, including a thunderous 3-ball 12-run havoc from MS Dhoni, the skipper smashing the fiery Mark Wood for 2 sixes on his first two balls.
Soon after the match had started, Ravi Ashwin, who has played a lot of cricket in Chepauk, and also was part of CSK until 2015, predicted that the match will be a high-scoring one. And it turned out to be.
“High scoring thriller ? This is a chepauk wicket from the past. Wow #windtheclockback #CSKvsLSG,” Ravi Ashwin tweeted.
Ashwin reckoned this is the Chepauk of old where high scores were made and they were even chased down.
LSG batters would certainly be hoping that the pitch remains true and hold itself as they aim to chase down this massive target of 218 runs.
Speaking in the mid-innings break, Devon Conway said: “It was a great start tonight, the way Rutu played- that first six was pretty special. Took the pressure off me. He is sneakily strong, holds his shape really well and uses his hands well. The slower ball into the wicket might be a good option. Pretty difficult to hit due to the unpredictability of speeds. With the spinners, some skid on so if we hit the right lengths batting can be difficult. Very special feeling when I got here earlier. The crowd was pretty loud, really great atmosphere and watching MS go out there for the last over was pretty special. The message has been to just go out there and enjoy ourselves.”