The fantastic Faf led Chennai to victory in the IPL opener

South Africa's Faf du Plessis took three catches and a quick-fire half-century after the virus-infected Indian Premier League kicked off in the UAE on Saturday to give the Chennai Super Kings a victory.

The fantastic Faf led Chennai to victory in the IPL opener

The cash-strapped league is being played’ outside India due to the corona virus epidemic, but the organizers did their best to mimic the horrific atmosphere with the crowds on the screen and the cheerleaders.

Led by Mahindra Singh Dhoni, Chennai, who retired from international cricket last month, beat defending champions Mumbai Indians by five wickets in Abu Dhabi.

Du Plessis scored an unbeaten 58 and with the help of Ambati Rayudu scored 115 for 115; Chennai chased down a target of 163 in 19.2 overs and celebrated in an empty stadium.

Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma said after the loss, "It was very different from us which is our habit of using, so many people are celebrating for us in the stadium."

"But we knew there would be no one in the stadium. I think the IPL has done a great job of making sure there's a lot of noise, which was good. But for us it's been new for a while. That's normal. "

The former India captain had tried to lead Chennai for more than a year after losing to New Zealand in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup for the last time.

After winning the toss and choosing to field first, Dhoni said, "You had the freedom to spend some time on yourself during the lockdown."

"I didn't do a lot of physical running, but yes, it was the best thing I could do at home for four or five months, to look as fit as possible and maybe fit."

Fitness took three outfield catches with du Plessis on his team-mates to help Mumbai, including two stunners, score 162 for nine.

England's Sam Korn scored 18 off six balls and after an order was sent by Dhoni, he batted for seven and Du Plessis scored the winning run.

"To be honest, I was shocked but I went inside but he is a talented man and he clearly thought of something," Cran said of his captain.

"But in the end a great win and a great start. It was a six or out mentality so you had to play this game - go out and have a risk and if he comes he goes down and if he doesn't. 

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