Super Kings vs Indians, Talking Points: CSK extremely vulnerable without Dhoni
CSK's batting found it tough to get going without MS Dhoni. (BCCI Images)

Chennai Super Kings slumped to their second defeat to the Mumbai Indians with many factors leading to the result. MI skipper Rohit Sharma struck his maiden fifty of the season while Hardik Pandya continued his love affair with the bat in the death overs. CSK, in reply, were just never in it in the absence of MS Dhoni as their batsmen were outplayed, handing MI a comprehensive 46-run win.

As MI celebrate their double over their arch nemesis CSK, we analyse a few passages of play which may have had an impact in the outcome of the match.

1. Rohit’s maiden fifty keeps MI innings together

It took a long time coming but Rohit finally struck an IPL half-century this season. With only 228 runs in nine innings before Friday night, the MI skipper came into his elements against his team’s arch-nemesis, CSK. In the company was Even Lewis, with whom he added 75 runs for the second wicket, Rohit took on Harbhajan Singh by dispatching him for a couple of sixes. On a track every other batsman seemed to be struggling Rohit dug in and made 67 off 48 balls. Once he reached his fifty, he cut loose to pummel two fours and a six off Imran Tahir. CSK’s spin twins, Tahir and Harbhajan have troubled the best batsmen this season and that Rohit played both spinners attackingly helped him gain confidence and set the base for a good total for Mumbai.

2. Pandya’s romance with death overs

Hardik seems to be making a career out of bailing Mumbai out of trouble in the final overs. Making a strong comeback in the IPL, the younger Pandya brother has made a difference of almost 30 runs in the death for MI each game and Friday night was no different. In 18 overs, MI were 128 for 4 and in need of a lift. Guess who comes out all guns blazing? Pandya closed out the innings by taking Dwayne Bravo for 17 runs off his final over – 12 coming off the final three balls which hoisted Mumbai beyond 150 at the Chepauk.

3. No Power-Play for CSK

CSK slumped to one of their heavy defeats this season and a major chunk of that result boils down to the batting failure of their middle order. It all began with Mumbai choking CSK early in their chase of 156. Without Dhoni, CSK’s batting has looked quite fragile and the chinks in their armour were once again exposed on Friday. Coming off his scintillating 96 against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Shane Watson flicked a ball straight to leg gully when the fielder was brought it particularly for that shot. Hardik and Krunal Pandya took out Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu and CSK were left to play early catch-up at 40 for 3 in the Powerplay. MI were 45 for 1, and even thought theirs wasn’t a comfortable position either, the fact that CSK had lost two more wickets hurt them.

4. No Dhoni, no resistance

And then came the implosion. Without Dhoni, CSK have been vulnerable, with the bat and behind the stumps. Dhoni was missed in the early staged of MI’s innings itself and Rayudu, keeping wickets, missed an edge of Lewis. The ball took a faint nick but neither Rayudu nor Harbhajan appealed, allowing Lewis to get away with en early reprieve. And later, when it was CSK’s turn to bat, the middle order was blown to pieces by MI’s strong bowling line-up emerging to the fore. Krunal knocked over Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav and Hardik bounced out stand-in skipper Raina. Murali Vijay resisted at the top with a chanced innings, Bravo and Mitchell Santner tried to at the end, but it wasn’t enough. Lasith Malinga returned to clean up the tail and finish with 4 for 37 while Krunal and Jasprit Bumrah claimed two wickets each. CSK’s batting without Dhoni was pretty much all over the place and it should raise alarm bells within their camp.