Chennai claims stunning 1-wicket win against Mumbai in IPL

Chennai Super Kings player Kedar Jadhav bats against Mumbai Indians during VIVO IPL cricket T20 match in Mumbai, India, Saturday, April 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

MUMBAI, India (AP) Chennai Super Kings made a stunning return to the Indian Premier League after two years out with a thrilling one-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians in the opening match on Saturday.

Mumbai made 165-4 and Chennai didn’t look like getting close until Dwayne Bravo, batting at No. 7, hit 68 off 30 balls to leave his side needing seven off the last over. As injured Kedar Jadhav hit the winning runs with one ball remaining, finishing with a boundary through the covers.

”The way Bravo batted, it was really good to see him take the responsibility,” Chennai captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said. ”The mix of players we have got will be more horses for courses.”

Chennai’s reliance on loading its playing XI with at least nine bowlers seemed to backfire after Mumbai’s competitive total. Mumbai seemed to be cruising to victory with Chennai needing 48 off the last 21 balls and only two wickets in hand and Jadhav struggling with hamstring injury.

But Bravo protected Jadhav well, and turned the match on its head. He smashed 20 off New Zealand’s Mitchell McClenaghan (1-44) in the 18th over, and the West Indies allrounder hoisted India’s premier fast bowler, Jasprit Bumrah, for three more sixes in the following over before getting out off the last delivery. Bravo plundered seven sixes and three fours.

Jadhav then kept his composure and despite playing Mustafizur Rahman for three dot balls in the last over he smashed a six and brought up victory with the cover-driven boundary.

”I might not play for the next couple of weeks,” Jadhav said after his unbeaten 24. ”Bravo gave us the opportunity and it was for us to give it a shot.”

Mumbai legspinner Mayank Markande (3-23) and Hardik Pandya (3-24) earlier ran through Chennai’s batsmen as they limped to 118-8 in the 17th over.

Markande had the key wickets of Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu (22) in his first two overs and Hardik removed Shane Watson and Suresh Raina.

Earlier, despite losing captain Rohit Sharma (15) and IPL debutant Evin Lewis for a duck, Mumbai made a good recovery through a 78-run stand between Suryakumar Yadav (43) and Ishan Kishan (40).

Pandya brothers Hardik and Krunal then combined in an unbroken 52-run stand off the last 32 deliveries with Krunal making 41 off 22 balls and Harik scoring 22.

Dhoni’s experienced overseas allrounders Shane Watson (2-29) and Bravo (0-25) did well, but Mark Wood, also playing his first IPL game, proved way too expensive and went for 0-49.

Bravo started by conceding three successive boundaries to Yadav in his very first over before making a good recovery in his next three overs and giving away only 11 more runs.

”Not feeling good at the moment,” Sharma said after losing the tournament’s opening game in front of home fans.

”We were in the game till the 17th over … with the dew coming it was difficult for the bowlers (and) we felt we were 10-15 runs short.”

PLUNKETT REPLACES RABADA

England pace bowler Liam Plunkett will make his IPL debut after he replaced South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada in the Delhi Daredevils.

Rabada was the player of the recent test series victory against Australia at home with 23 wickets but is expected to be out of action for three months due to back-stress reaction.

Plunkett is unlikely to be picked for England’s test series against Pakistan next month and could be available for the entire Daredevils campaign.