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Chennai begins IPL title defense with cruisy win as Kohli out for 21 in comeback game

CHENNAI, India (AP) — Chennai Super Kings launched their Indian Premier League title defense with a clinical six-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bengaluru in Virat Kohli’s comeback match on Friday.

Kohli made a quiet 21 off 20 balls in Bengaluru’s sub-par score of 173-6, and Chennai cruised to 176-4 with eight balls to spare in the opening game of the nine-week-long league.

Kohli missed international cricket for nearly two months, including India’s test series win over England, owing to the birth of his second child, and couldn't prevent Chennai achieving an eighth consecutive win against Bengaluru at Chepauk.

After Bengaluru's top order collapsed, Anuj Rawat (48) and Dinesh Karthik (38 not out) revived their hopes with a sixth-wicket stand of 95 off 57 balls.

Captain Faf du Plessis chose to bat and gave Bengaluru a good start in the power play when he smacked eight boundaries in his 35 before he fell to the variations of fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman, who took 4-29.

Mustafizur dismissed du Plessis and Rajat Patidar in his only over in the power play, then he picked up two more wickets, including Kohli, in his second over midway through the innings.

Kohli was brilliantly snapped up at deep midwicket when Ajinkya Rahane dived full length and, just before crashing into the boundary cushion, lobbed the ball back to Rachin Ravindra to complete the catch.

Bengaluru was lurching at 78-5 and Mustafizur's figures read 4-7 off his first two overs.

Chennai's top order was amongst the runs in a breezy chase. Ravindra, in his league debut, made 37 off 15 balls with three sixes and three boundaries.

Ajinkya Rahane (27) and Daryl Mitchell (22) kept up the run rate and Shivam Dube (34 not out) and Ravindra Jadeja (25 not out) combined in a half-century stand to guide Chennai home.

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AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket