Chennai: A 35-ball 50 (6×4, 3×6) by opener Richard Levi powered Mumbai Indians to an eight-wicket victory against defending champions Chennai Super Kings in the opening fixture of the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League here Wednesday.
There was hardly a false note in the Mumbai Indians performance as they dismissed the Super Kings for 112 in 19.5 overs with Suresh Raina (36, 26b, 2×4, 1×6) playing a lone hand before Levi paved the way with a blistering innings as the visitors reached the target in 16.5 overs.
The only bright moments for the Super Kings, besides Raina’s sparkling knock, was the hostile fast bowling by Aussie Doug Bollinger who sent back Rohit Sharma and Sachin Tendulkar in one over.
Bollinger first struck Rohit Sharma on the box and then had him caught behind off the next delivery. Two balls later, he forced an ominously in-form Tendulkar (16, 15b, 1×4, 1×6) to retire after hitting the maestro on the fingers with a snorter.
The sudden exit of three top batsmen put the brakes on the Mumbai Indians’ chase, but Ambatti Rayudu (18 not out) and James Franklin (25 not out) played sensibly to guide the 2011 Champions League winners home.
It was South African Levi who provided the early momentum to the Mumbai chase with a characteristic knock that was studded with powerful hits before he holed out off Dwayne Bravo soon after reaching his half-century.
Earlier, the Super Kings, asked to bat first on a two-paced pitch, flattered to deceive as they lost wickets at regular intervals and could not get a partnership going.
The run out of converted opener Faf du Plessis in the first over put the Super Kings on the backfoot as Murali Vijay, not in the best of form, followed him soon after.
Though Raina and Dwayne Bravo (19 off 19, 3 x 4) added 37 for the third wicket at a rapid pace, the exit of the southpaw in the 10th over spelt doom for the Super Kings.
Thereafter, the home team struggled to find any sort of momentum even as Mumbai struck decisive blows at critical moments while the Super Kings innings fell apart.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s run out in the 16th over proved most crucial and his exit effectively sealed the Super Kings’ fate.