Mumbai, April 7: Ladies and gentlemen! Chennai Super Kings are back. The emotional return of the Super Kings was a much-talked about theme ahead of this edition of the Indian Premier League. The lustre around the match got thicker because Chennai Super Kings were facing Mumbai Indians, a team they nourished a great rivalry in the previous editions till 2015.
And in a nerve-cracking match, Chennai Super Kings registered a one-wicket win over Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede stadium in the first match of this IPL season on Saturday (April 7) that will put a wide grin on the faces of their fans.
For the record, Mumbai made 165/4 in 20 overs and Chennai reached 169/9 after Dwayne Bravo (68, 30b, 3x4, 6x7) and a hobbling Kedar Jadhav pulled them past the line with a ball to spare. Bravo was just sensational as he took apart some patended death over bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah, Mitchell McLenagan to instill life into the sagging chase of Chennai.
Once Chennai lost Shane Watson, Suresh Raina and skipper MS Dhoni well before the 50-run mark, the match seemed to going in Mumbai way. There were some fine individual efforts in the match like Bravo's brilliant comeback in the death overs, a strong partnership between Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav and Krunal Pandya's cameo towards the end of Mumbai Indians.
But debutant Mayank Markande - the young leg-spinner took 3/23 from four overs and his victims included the big fish Dhoni - really made an impression.
Earlier, the match was expected to give some edge of the seat thriller with runs flowing smoothly.
But Chennai skipper Dhoni read the pitch to perfection and chose to bowl first. The decision, for now, made sense as Mumbai Indians made a par for the course total.
Skipper Rohit Sharma and West Indian left-hander Evin Lewis opened for Mumbai Indians and they struggled to get any momentum against Super Kings' new ball bowlers who stood at the different spectrum of experience - Deepak Chahar and Watson.
It did not took too long for Chennai Super Kings to earn the first breakthrough as Chahar, who found some pace, carry and movement off the track, trapped Lewis in front of the wicket.
Rohit too departed soon skying Watson, immediately after hitting him for a six, to Ambati Rayudu who effected a brilliant catch within the circle.
At 39 for two after the six Power Play overs, Mumbai desperately needed some steam and it was provided by Suryakumar and Kishan. The right-hand, left-hand pair added 78 runs off just 8.4 overs as Mumbai overcame the initial sluggishness.
They were severe on pacer Bravo and leg-spinner Imran Tahir, clobbering them for a couple of sixes and fours to take the run rate forward. They were fortunate too as some of the edges and miscued shots fell short or evaded diving fielders but that hardly mattered as runs came at a good clip.
But Chennai made a comeback dismissing both Surya and Kishan in quick succession through Watson and Tahir.
My word - what a game to start off @IPL 11 Rivalry, pace, spin, power-hitting, old-timers, debutants, strategy, injury, resilience, clear-thinking under pressure... @DJBravo47 and @ChennaiIPL back 💥💥 #IPL2018— Isa Guha (@isaguha) April 7, 2018
However, Mumbai Indians found some late over energy though Pandya brothers - Hardik and Krunal - as they reached a total that gave some cushion to their bowlers.
And on this night, it seemed enough until Bravo thought otherwise. Now, it's time for us to listen to the rhythm of Chennai.