There has rarely been an Indian Premier League (IPL) team more fiercely supported at the Wankhede Stadium than the Chennai Super Kings, as was evident after their remarkable comeback from the ashes in a nail bitter opening encounter of the eleventh edition of the league. West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo shattered Mumbai’s hopes of starting off their campaign on a winning note with a spectacular innings that will certainly go down as one of the most memorable ones for him in the yellow jersey. Bravo smashed Mumbai Indians’ death overs specialist Jasprit Bumrah for a couple of sixes in the 19th over of the match to set the tone for winning runs to be scored by an injured Kedar Jadhav who could barely walk after pulling his hamstring earlier in the 13th over of the game and hence retired hurt. Chennai pulled off a sensational 1 wicket victory in the nail bitter to give a fitting start to the IPL 2018.
Bravo snatched the victory from the jaws of Mumbai Indians who had full control of the game until the all-rounder deecided to go berserk. Few would have expected Chennai to get things back in their favour after they were 84-6 in the 13th over and then 118-8 in the 17th over. But Bravo’s explosive 68 off 30 balls pulled Chennai back into the game with Kedar Jadhav adding the cherry on top. Chasing a decent 166 at the Wankhede, Chennai Super Kings’ top order failed to deliver with the bat, as the likes of Watson, Rayudu, Dhoni and Raina all walking back to the pavilion even before the halfway mark. Mayank Markande (3/23) and Hardik Pandya (3/24) were lethal for Mumbai as they put MI in cruise control in the match, only to see Bravo smash seven sixes and three fours to bring a misfiring CSK back into the game.
Bravo was dismissed by Bumrah with just seven runs needed from the last over, a position from where Kedar Jadhav could have had a much easier stride had he been fit. The Indian spin-all-rounder despite all the barriers, scooped a six on the fourth ball of from Mustafizur Rahman to level the scores, after playing three dot balls in a rather hapless condition. Jadhav then won it for MS Dhoni and the Super Kings with a fine finish through the covers for a boundary. All that which started from Bravo’s willow ended with Jadhav’s and one man who had held his nerves tight was none other than MS Dhoni who calmly walked down the stairs while his teammates were celebrating madly.
Before Bravo, it was Mumbai riding on the back of a superb show from young Markande who made his presence felt at the Wankhede and kept his team in the battle by getting two crucial wickets of Ambati Rayudu and the big man MS Dhoni in his first two overs. After Jadhav limped off the pitch, Markande on the last ball of his final over sent Deepak Chahar packing further piling up misery on the CSK batting line-up. But he could barely affect Bravo who launched a flurry of big shots and took it down to the final over for his team.
Earlier in the match, the Mumbai Indians got off to a rather unexpected start with their star opener Evin Lewis failing to live up to the expectations. Rohit Sharma also looked far from being at his best as he walked back after Ambati Rayudu took a well-timed catch to ensure his former captain’s return to the dressing room. The Mumbai openers Lewis and Rohit added a total of 15 runs on the board with the latter failing to open his run account as he became the first batsman of the 2018 season to fall for a duck.
India’s future wicket keeping prospect and one of the most exciting talents in the IPL, Ishan Kishan showcased what he was capable of with the bat as he demolished Imran Tahir in his very first over but eventually got pocketed by him as he walked back after a well played 40(29). Former Kolkata Knight Riders vice-captain Suryakumar Yadav put up a gritty fight with Kishan to set the stage for a big total for Mumbai Indians. Yadav 43(29) added 78 runs with Kishan before becoming Watson’s second victim of the night.
The Pandya brothers Hardik and Krunal dragged Mumbai to a fighting total of 165/4 in 20 overs. Though Hardik was ordinary with the bat with 22(20) which he later covered up with the ball, his brother Krunal struck the ball well and looked in fine touch. Krunal Pandya 41(22) added 52 runs on the board with Hardik to finish things on a good note. Shane Watson and Deepak Chahar impressed with the ball as they both finished with figures of 3/14/1 and 4/29/2 respectively, taking wickets at the same time being economical.