MUMBAI – Dwayne Bravo hit a blazing 68 to help Chennai Super Kings pull off a thrilling chase and open the 2018 Indian Premier League season with a one-wicket win over Mumbai Indians on Saturday.
After a glitzy opening ceremony in the Bollywood capital, it was Bravo who set the stage on fire with his 30-ball blitz that allowed the Super Kings to chase down 166 with a ball to spare.
West Indies’ Bravo was out on the last ball of the penultimate over, and it was Kedar Jadhav who sealed the game for the Super Kings with a six and a four against Mustafizur Rahman.
Jadhav, who suffered a thigh strain in the middle of his innings, and will be out of action for a few weeks, hit 24 off 22 deliveries for Super Kings, who are returning to the cash-rich T20 tournament after an illegal gambling ban.
“CSK-MI is one game that people wait to watch. We’re coming back after two years, that’s also the reason that people are eager to watch us in action,” Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said after the win.
“The way Bravo batted, it was really good to see him take the responsibility.”
Paceman Hardik Pandya and debutant leg-spinner Mayank Markande claimed three wickets each to hurt the Super Kings’ chase but Bravo had other ideas.
The big-hitting West Indian hit three fours and seven sixes after coming in to bat in the 13th over of the innings with his side struggling at 75/5.
Bravo took away 20 runs off the 18th over from New Zealand paceman Mitchell McClenaghan to set up an exciting finish as Super Kings needed 27 off 12 deliveries and Jadhav finished it off in style.
Markande, 20, returned impressive figures of 3/23, including the prized scalp of Dhoni for five.
Hardik, who twisted his ankle while batting in the first innings, returned with the ball to get Australia’s Shane Watson, for 16, and Suresh Raina, for four, in his opening burst.
Earlier Krunal Pandya, who was the costliest uncapped buy in IPL auction at $1.38 million, hit a 22-ball 41 during his unbeaten 52-run stand with brother Hardik (22) as Mumbai posted 165/4 after being put into bat first.
Suryakumar Yadav top-scored with 43, but it was Krunal’s late blitz that included five fours and two sixes and got Mumbai a crucial 48 runs in the last five overs.
Watson claimed two wickets, including skipper and opening batsman Rohit Sharma for 15, with his medium-pace bowling.
“Not feeling good at the moment. We have to give the credit to Bravo. We tried to get the yorker, but we couldn’t get it. We need to improve our execution,” said Sharma.
“We were in the game till the 17th over. Anyway, good learning for all of us. With the dew coming, it was difficult for the bowlers. We felt we were 10-15 runs short.”
Coming on the heels of the Australian ball-tampering scandal, the world’s most popular T20 league is keen to avoid any controversy in the 51 days of the league, where 60 matches will be played across nine venues.
With $8 million dollars in prizes at stake – including $4 million for the winning team – the final takes place on May 27 in Mumbai.