Suresh Raina stole the show for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) against Delhi Capitals in Mumbai on Saturday, scoring a fast half-century in his first competitive match in over a year. The left-handed batsman, who had to withdraw from the IPL last year due to personal reasons, got off to a slow start but soon found his stride, hitting Delhi Capitals bowlers, especially spinners, all over the ground. Raina came into the game when CSK were in serious trouble, having lost both openers for just seven runs. Raina batted conservatively and put up a strong 53-run partnership with England all-rounder Moeen Ali, who scored 36 off 24 balls.
Raina smashed a Marcus Stoinis delivery over cow corner for a huge six to bring up his half-century in style. Three fours and four maximums were sprinkled in his knock. He and Ambati Rayudu put together a 63-run fourth-wicket stand to get CSK’s innings back on track.
Raina, who had dominated the Delhi bowlers en route to his fifty, was unlucky to be run out in the 16th over of the innings after scoring 54 runs off 36 balls due to a mix-up with Ravindra Jadeja.
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) April 10, 2021
Raina in full flow is a treat to watch! 50 on his return.#IPL2021— Abhinav mukund (@mukundabhinav) April 10, 2021
Experts and CSK fans praised Raina’s outstanding results on Twitter, praising the star batsman whose absence was felt keenly in the previous edition, when the franchise finished second from bottom, their worst-ever finish.
Despite missing an entire season, Raina is still the tournament’s second-most prolific batsman, with 5,442 runs from 194 matches, behind only RCB captain Virat Kohli’s 5,911 runs.