Dwayne Bravo’s spectacular 68 off 30 balls denied the Mumbai Indians’ perfect title-defending start to squeeze out a one-wicket win for the Chennai Super Kings in Mumbai on Saturday.
The IPL’s two biggest rivals collided in the opening fixture of the 2018 season.
Five titles have been won between the two sides, with the Mumbai Indians winning their third title last season and the Chennai Superkings making their return to the competition after serving a two-year ban after their owners were found guilty of being involved in betting.
The Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai was stunned into silence. After being put in to bat, the hosts lost two wickets in just under four overs, which included the big wicket of their skipper Rohit Sharma for 15.
Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav brought their side back into the contest to take MI close to the 100-run mark. Shane Watson was key to keeping his side in the game. After dismissing Sharma early on, he broke the free-flowing partnership for his second, Yadav out for a 29-ball 43.
Imran Tahir took advantage of the breakthrough to add a scalp to his name, removing 19-year-old Kishan for 40 off 29 balls.
The Pandya brothers, Hardik and Krunal, powered to the 150-run mark, led by the latter who struck consecutive boundaries to take his side past the mark. Krunal scored 41 off 22 at a strike rate of 186.36 as MI posted 165-4.
The Super Kings never got going. They lost their top five for 75 runs as debutant Mayank Markande and Hardik Pandya took two apiece. Pandya dismissed Watson (16) and Suresh Raina (4) while Markande removed Ambati Rayudu (22) and MS Dhoni (5).
It went from bad to worse. Kedar Jadhav retired hurt, which was followed up by Markande’s third as they crept to 105.
Bravo then put in a champion cameo knock of 68 off 30 balls to set up a winning scenario for his side despite losing his scalp on the last ball of the 19th over.
Jadhav faced three dot balls and then smashed a four and a six in the final over to seal a one-wicket win for the visitors.