Gaikwad, Moeen lift Chennai to first season win

Chennai Super Kings' Tushar Deshpande celebrates after taking the wicket of Lucknow Super Giants' Nicholas Pooran during the Indian Premier League (IPL) match between Chennai Super Kings and Lucknow Super Giants at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on 3 April 2023AFP

An opening century partnership between Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway helped Chennai Super Kings to a 12-run win over Lucknow Super Giants at the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Monday.

The match began five minutes late after a dog invasion but Gaikwad (57) and Conway (47) soon turned the spotlight to cricket with their blazing stand of 110 in Chennai.

Chennai Super Kings' Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway run between the wickets

Four-time winners Chennai, led by MS Dhoni, reached 217-7, a total their bowlers defended by restricting Lucknow to 205-7 and register their first win of this season.

England’ Moeen Ali took four key wickets and was ably supported by fellow spinner Mitchell Santner, who returned impressive figures of 1-21.

But Gaikwad set up victory as he smashed his way to his second successive half-century this season to entertain a raucous home crowd, which witnessed its team in action live after a long break due to Covid.

Chennai Super Kings' Moeen Ali celebrates with his captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni after taking the wicket of Lucknow Super Giants' Krunal Pandya

The 16th edition of the money-spinning T20 tournament has returned to its home-and-away format after a few years of pandemic forced closed-door and limited-venue seasons.

Gaikwad tore into the Lucknow attack with a string of sixes including one off England’s Mark Wood after the-left handed Conway hit the express bowler for three boundaries in that over.

Lucknow hit back to remove the openers after leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi sent back Gaikwad and Wood had his revenge on Conway with Krunal Pandya taking a stunning low and diving catch in the deep.

Lucknow kept chipping away with wickets including Ben Stokes out for eight before Ambati Rayudu, who hit an unbeaten 27, took the total past 200.

Chennai Super Kings' captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni watches the ball after playing a shot

Dhoni hit two straight sixes off Wood in the final over to go past 5000 IPL runs before he departed.

In reply, Kyle Mayers smashed 53 off 22 balls to start the chase strongly but Lucknow soon lost their way to Moeen’s off-spin.

Moeen got Mayers, skipper KL Rahul (20) and Marcus Stoinis (21) to dent the chase and despite Nicholas Pooran’s quickfire 32 Lucknow could not recover.