Pragyan Ojha, the former Deccan Chargers bowler, took two wickets in his first two overs to spin new side Mumbai Indians to a dominating 8-wicket victory over Chennai Super Kings in Game 1 of Indian Premier League V here at Chepauk yesterday.
IPL title holders Chennai were coasting at 69-2, thanks to a thriving partnership between Suresh Raina (36) and Dwayne Bravo (19), when Ojha was introduced in the 10th over – a move that turned the tide in the visitors’ favor.
Ojha (2-17), Kieron Pollard (2-15) and Lasith Malinga (2-16) kept chipping away with wickets as Chennai were shot out for 112.
Later, Mumbai’s other debutant Richard Levi, who recently scored the fastest Twenty20 international century, blasted 50 off 35 balls to set the ball rolling for the visitors in their pursuit of 113 runs.
Levi added 69 for the first wicket with Sachin Tendulkar before being caught in the deep but by then the Mumbai Indians were in a commanding position.
Tendulkar (16 retd hurt), despite playing second fiddle to Levi also entertained the crowd as he smashed Albie Morkel over extra cover for a huge six. But he left the field after hurting his finger thanks to a rising delivery from Bollinger.
Ambati Rayudu (18) and James Franklin (25) remained unbeaten to ensure that victory was attained with 19 balls to spare after Sachin Tendulkar (16) left the field retired hurt, and Rohit Sharma (0) was snared without troubling the scorers. For Chennai, only Doug Bollinger (1-34) and Bravo (1-14) finished with a wicket apiece.
The newly-laid 22-yard strip which had some patches of grass on either side turned out to be a nightmare for the hosts’ batsmen after Harbhajan Singh won the toss and elected to bowl.
While MI bowlers put up a spirited performance, CSK batsmen helped their cause as three of them including skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni were run-out.
Pollard and Malinga triggered Chennai’s lower-order collapse when the former dug one short into Albie Morkel’s (3) ribs and his lofted shot went straight to Ojha at deep square-leg. Malinga removed Ravindra Jadeja (3) and Bollinger (3) quickly to end Chennai’s innings.
CSK 112 in 19.4 overs (Raina 36, Pollard 2-15, Malinga 2-16, Ojha 2-17). MI 115 for 2 in 16.5 overs (Levi 50, Franklin 25 no, Tendulkar 16 retd hurt)