The 16th season of the Indian Premier League commenced on Friday, March 31 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad with an exciting opening match between the Gujarat Titans and the Chennai Super Kings. The defending champions, Gujarat Titans, started their campaign with a bang as they emerged victorious against CSK by a margin of 5 wickets. Chennai Super Kings batted first and scored 178/7 in their 20 overs, with Ruturaj Gaikwad scoring an impressive 92 runs. Gujarat Titans, in their reply, successfully chased down the target in 19.2 overs. Former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag analyzed Chennai’s bowling performance and suggested that captain MS Dhoni should have used more than five bowlers.
During the second innings of the match between Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings, CSK replaced Ambati Rayudu with Tushar Deshpande as their ‘impact player’. However, the seamer did not perform well and gave away 51 runs in 3.2 overs while only picking up one wicket. Virender Sehwag, a former Indian cricketer, suggested that CSK captain MS Dhoni should have used off-spinner Moeen Ali instead of Deshpande to prevent further damage.
Virender Sehwag on MS Dhoni
“Had Dhoni used an over from Moeen Ali somewhere in the middle, he may not have needed to go to Tushar Deshpande, who was highly expensive. You don’t see MS Dhoni making such mistakes often, but that’s where you could use the risk-and-reward approach of using an off-spinner when right-handers are batting,” Sehwag said.
During the match, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, a 20-year-old seamer, made his IPL debut for CSK after not playing in the previous season. Hangargekar impressed everyone with his performance and picked up three wickets, including those of Wriddhiman Saha, Sai Sudharsan, and Vijay Shankar. He ended up with figures of 3/36 in his four overs and played a crucial role in keeping CSK in the game.
Sehwag commented on Hangargekar’s impressive debut, suggesting that the young seamer should prioritize taking wickets over maintaining a low economy rate.
“A new player will always take time to adjust and if I were the captain, I would be pretty happy as I always used to tell my bowler that even if you get hit for 40 runs in four overs, pick up 2-3 wickets and that’s exactly what Hangargekar did,” he said.
The spinners of CSK performed well in the middle overs, with Ravindra Jadeja taking 1 wicket for 28 runs in his four overs, and Mitchell Santner bowling all four overs but without taking any wicket and conceding 32 runs. However, Tushar Deshpande’s costly spell proved to be the deciding factor in the match.