The Kolkata Knight Riders beat the Chennai Super Kings by six wickets in the IPL opener in Mumbai on Saturday.
Fourty-year-old MS Dhoni, who passed on the Chennai captaincy to Ravindra Jadeja on Thursday, rolled back the years with an unbeaten 38-ball 50 that lifted the holders from a precarious 61-5 to post 131-5.
Kolkata reached their target in 18.3 overs with new skipper Shreyas Iyer unbeaten on 20.
Ajinkya Rahane top-scored with 44. Fast bowler Dwayne Bravo claimed three wickets to equal Sri Lanka veteran Lasith Malinga as the leading wicket-taker in the tournament with 170 scalps.
Dhoni, a veteran wicketkeeper-batsman, took his time to get going in season 15 of the T20 tournament but put on an unbeaten stand of 70 with the left-handed Jadeja, who made 26, and the pair got 47 off the last three overs.
Dhoni, who led Chennai to their fourth IPL title in the Covid-hit T20 tournament completed in the UAE last year, smashed seven fours and one six to bring alive the limited crowd at the Wankhede Stadium.
It was Dhoni’s first half-century since April 2019 when he smashed 84, although in a losing cause against the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The cash-rich tournament has been expanded to 10 teams and 74 matches but league games would be restricted to four venues in Mumbai and Pune.
The Delhi Capitals take on five-time winners Mumbai Indians in the first match on Sunday while the Punjab Kings meet Bangalore in the evening game.