Richard Levi smashed 35-ball fifty to help Mumbai Indians thump defending champions Chennai Super Kings by 8 wickets in the opening match of the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Scorecard | Spectators @ IPL opener
Chasing a modest 113-run target, Levi put on 69 runs for the opening wicket with Sachin Tendulkar (16 retired hurt) to set up the run chase perfectly for the Mumbai.
James Franklin (25 not out) and Ambati Rayudu (18 not out) finished off the chase with 19 balls to spare as Mumbai started their new campaign on the right note.
Mumbai’s only worry will be Sachin’s injury as the master blaster left the field with an injured finger as Chennai bounced back with two quick Mumbai Indians wickets but it turned out to be too little too late.
Tendulkar smashed a six and a four in his 15-ball knock before a bouncer from Bollinger hit him on the glove.
Doug Bollinger dismissed Rohit Sharma (0) in the ninth over to reduce Mumbai to 70/2.
Mumbai lost Richard Levi (50) after he added quick 69 runs with Tendulkar. Dwayne Bravo ended Levi’s whirlwind innings, after the batsman slammed three sixes and six boundaries in his 34-ball half century.
Tendulkar and Levi started Mumbai Indians run chase aggressively as they raced to fifty in just six overs.
Electing to field, discipline Mumbai bowlers bowled out defending champions Chennai for paltry 112 in 19.5 overs.
Keiron Pollard (2-15), Lasith Malinga (2-16) and Pragyan Ojha (2-17) took two Chennai wickets each to go with three run-outs.
Asked to bat, Chennai lost wickets at regular intervals and failed to build their innings after losing their three top-order batsmen inside ten overs.
Suresh Raina (36) top-scored for the hosts as he hit a six and two boundaries in his quick-fire 26 balls innings before becoming Ojha’s first victim.
Skipper MS Dhoni’s run out did not favour Chennai as they lost their last seven wickets for 32 runs in the end.
Pollard dismissed Albie Morkel (3) soon after Ojha’s twin-strike. Double-strike by leg-spinner Ojha put Mumbai Indians in front against Chennai in the middle overs. Ojha dismissed Dwayne Bravo (19) in the 12th over to reduce Chennai to 80/4 in 11.2 overs, after he scalped the prized-wicket of Raina (36) in his previous over.
Super Kings lost Murali Vijay (10) and Francois Du Plessis (3) inside six overs. James Franklin dismissed Vijay in the sixth over to reduce Chennai to 38/2 in 5.5 overs. CSK lost opener Du Plessis early in the first over to make a disastrous start to their league campaign.
Earlier, Mumbai skipper Harbhajan Singh won the toss and decided to field against Chennai.
The season’s lung opener at the MA Chidambaram stadium could not have got any better as two of the strongest teams in the tournament will set the tone for the high-octane Twenty20 tournament over the next eight weeks.
Banking on their home advantage which enabled them to win back-to-back titles, the Chennai outfit, led by talismanic Mahendra Singh Dhoni, will be hoping for their third consecutive IPL crown, but for that to happen they will have to pull out all stops to ensure a winning start to their campaign as their rivals — Mumbai Indians — appear to hold a slender edge.
Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Murali Vijay, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Shadab Jakati, Subramaniam Badrinath, Suresh Raina, Albie Morkel, Doug Bollinger, Dwayne Bravo, Francois Du Plessis.
Mumbai Indians: Harbhajan Singh (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Abu Nechim Ahmed, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Pragyan Ojha, Rohit Sharma, James Franklin, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Richard Levi. (Courtesy Times of India)