Mumbai: Debutants Rising Pune Supergiants stunned defending champions Mumbai Indians by nine wickets in the opening match of the Indian Premier League 2016, here on Saturday.
Pune Supergiants made a strong impression by restricting defending champions Mumbai Indians to 121 for eight.
The hosts struggled to get going after opting to bat first and were left struggling at 61 for six at one stage before recovering somewhat.
Indian Test pace spearhead Ishant Sharma and Australia’s Mitchell Marsh struck twice each to reduce MI to 30 for four inside the six-over power play.
MI could not recover from these early shocks and stuttered along and somehow avoided being shot out below their lowest score at this venue – 92 against Delhi Daredevils in 2012.
Among the frontline batsmen only Ambati Rayudu (22 in 27 balls) reached double figures.
Later, Harbhajan Singh used the long handle to make an innings-high 45 not out in 30 balls, inclusive of one six and seven fours.
He also added 28 runs, the highest of the innings, with R Vinay Kumar (12) for the eighth wicket and 25 for the unfinished ninth with Mitchell Mclenaghan.
For the league debutants, Ishant (2/36) and Marsh (2/21) did the early damage. Rajat Bhatia (1/10) and leggie Murugan Ashwin (1/16) also got among the wickets along with Ravichandran Ashwin (1/7), who came in to bowl his first and only over after 15 overs, and RP Singh (1/30).
MI got off to a lousy start by losing their top four batsmen, including last season’s top two run-getters Lendl Simmons and captain Rohit Sharma, inside the first five overs with 30 on board.
Ishant did the initial damage by packing off the two Rohit (8) and Simmons (7) in his first two overs.
Bowling at full tilt, the lanky pacer trapped Rohit leg before with the first ball he bowled.
Simmons, who had played a blistering knock of 82 not out that piloted West Indies into the finals past India on March 31 in the WT20 semis, was castled by Ishant after having hit a six in the previous over.
At 29 for two, it needed some patience but it was not forthcoming as the promoted Hardik Pandya (9), after slashing and edging Ishant for two fours, succumbed to the first ball from Marsh who then dismissed Jos Buttler, for a duck, off the last ball of his first over.
Pandya went for a wild heave without gauging Marsh’s pace and top-edged a skier that was gladly accepted by Dhoni. Buttler then edged the sixth ball of the same over for Ravichandran Ashwin to bring off a low catch to his right.
At the end of power play, MI were struggling at 37 for four and things could have been worse had Kieron Pollard been given out after he was hit on the pads by Marsh’s full toss right in front of stumps.
But the West Indian did not last long as he was trapped in front in the next over by Rajat Bhatia for 1 to leave MI at 40 for five in the eight over that became 51 for six when Shreyas Gopal was holed out at long off of leggie Murugan Ashwin’s bowling
Ravichandran Ashwin then got Rayudu to pull the first ball straight to Faf du Plessis at short mid-wicket as MI slumped to 68 for seven.
It was then left to Harbhajan, whose power hitting took MI past the 100-run mark, with the last three overs yielding 41 runs.
Mumbai Indians: 121 for 8 in 20 overs (Harbhajan Singh 45 not out, Ambati Rayudu 22; Mitchell Marsh 2/21).
Rising Pune Supergiants: 126/1 in 14.4 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 66 not out, Faf du Plessis 34; Harbhajan Singh 24/1).
Rising Pune Supergiants beat Mumbai Indians by 9 wickets.