Chennai Super Kings fans got the homecoming they deserved when the home side managed to pip Lucknow Super Giants by 12 runs in their first home game in nearly four years.
After losing the toss and being asked to bat first, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway got CSK off to a flying start, scoring 81 runs in the powerplay. Then, the likes of Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube and Ambati Rayudu played useful cameos in the middle overs, before MS Dhoni took centre stage and smashed a couple sixes to help CSK set up a steep target for LSG.
Lucknow's openers then returned the favor, by going after Chennai's bowlers in the powerplay. Kyle Mayers in particular was severe on them, scoring an attacking fifty. The momentum swung back in CSK's favor, thanks to their spinners. While Mitchell Santner kept a check on the run flow from one end, Moeen kept taking wickets from the other. Together, they bowled their eight overs for just 47 runs and took five wickets.
In a way, Tushar Deshpande's night summed up the entire game. After taking 11 balls to complete his first over (joint-highest in IPL history), he came back brilliantly in the latter half of the innings to close the game.
"Bowling a no-ball is a crime in T20s. But, if I keep cribbing on it, I might have given away 10 extra runs. I was just focused on making a good comeback here. I kept telling myself that I can win the game for the team. I am a firm believer in staying in the present. What's done is done," Tushar said.
With Chepauk expected to get slower as the tournament progresses, pacers might get fewer opportunities to showcase their skills here. But, Tushar didn't seem too bothered by that.
"I feel that getting a chance or not is not in my hand. Putting in the effort and improving myself is. So I was focusing on that. As I improve as a bowler, I will get more opportunities and I just need to grab it with both hands."
Post the auction, a lot of experts opined that CSK doesn't seem to have a lot of options at the death and that this could be a phase they might struggle in. Tushar proved them wrong with a fantastic second spell.
"I feel that bowling at the death is not an easy skill. I'm still learning. We have a great death bowler, DJ Bravo, as our bowling coach. I'm just trying to pick his brains. My role is similar to what DJ has done for CSK. I obviously cannot fill his shoes, but I'm trying to learn from him."
With overs under his belt, he seems to be improving with every game. It'll be a huge shot in the arm for CSK if he can continue bowling this way at the death for them.