Debutants Rising Pune Supergiants started their Indian Premier League campaign with a comfortable win against the reigning champions. Ajinkya made a brilliant unbeaten 66 off 42 balls, after skipper MS Dhoni marshaled his resources brilliantly in the first innings to restrict a batting heavy Mumbai Indians team for 121 runs.
After winning the toss, Mumbai Indians could have posted a bigger total, but the Wankhede pitch behaving uncharacteristically and batsmen playing expansive shots, it was a sad outing with the bat for the Rohit Sharma's team.
Harbhajan Singh played an unbeaten cameo of 45 runs off 30 balls to help the total some respectability. And besides, Ambati Rayudu's 22 off 27, not a single batsman came to the party for the hosts.
In contrast, Rising Pune Supergiants started the chase in a rollicking style with a 78-run opening stand between MoM Ajinkya Rahane inside 10 overs. Then, Kevin Pietersen joined the fun, playing a quick-fire knock of 21 runs from 14 balls. Before him, South African captain Faf du Plessis scored 34 off 33 balls.
For Mumbai, Harbhajan was the only successful bowler.
India's recent finds, Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah failed to impress. Pandya who was promoted to no. 3 for Mumbai, could only score nine runs off 11 balls, then with the ball, well, four balls and 12 runs.
Bumrah started well with the ball, and was unlucky at times. But he too failed, conceding 30 runs from his spell of three overs.
One interesting fact that emerged from the match is Dhoni, for the second successive match, ignored Ravichandran Ashwin. The India spinner was given only one over, while his namesake Murugan Ashwin completed a quota of four overs.
RISING PUNE SUPERGIANTS INNINGS
Over 14.4 || Score 126/1 (Rahane 66; Pietersen 21); Target 122 runs
A six to win the match. Some style from Ajinkya Rahane. Rising Pune Supergiants beat the reigning champions by nine wickets inside 15 overs.
And Hardik Pandya conceded 12 runs, thanks to two sixes, from his four balls in the over.
Over 14 || Score 114/1 (Rahane 54; Pietersen 21); Target 122 runs
Harbhajan Singh, he is being selected by Kevin Pietersen for some special treatment. A huge six to start the over, over long-on boundary. That hit stayed hit.
Four more singles and 10 runs from the over. Rising Pune Supergiants need eight runs from 36 balls.
Over 13 || Score 104/1 (Rahane 52; Pietersen 13); Target 122 runs
Ajinkya Rahane, always an affable character, reached his fifty off 32 balls, with a four off the first ball of the over, bowled by Shreyas Gopal.
A dot ball, then a single, a 2, and a leg bye followed.
Then Gopal dropped Rahane. Hit straight back, but the bowler failed to hold onto the catch.
Rising Pune Supergiants need another 18 runs from 42 balls.
Over 12 || Score 85/1 (Rahane 47; Pietersen 11); Target 122 runs
Take that. That's the sound of the shot, of KP's blade. Sweet.
A rather reticent Kevin Pietersen came down and hoisted the last ball of the over for a huge six, into the top-tier.
Harbhajan Singh, thus, conceded 11 runs from his second over. There were a two 2's and a single.
Over 11 || Score 85/1 (Rahane 44; Pietersen 3); Target 122 runs
Another good over for the hosts. Shreyas Gopal leaked six runs from his second over. Four singles and a 2.
Rising Pune Supergiants need another 37 runs from 54 balls.
Over 10 || Score 79/1 (Rahane 40; Pietersen 1); Target 122 runs
Harbhajan Singh finally got his first over. And right away, he provided the break-through. Bowled South African Faf du Plessis.
du Plessis wanted to sweep, but he missed the flatter delivery and ended up loosing ground, and the ball crashing into the stumps.
WICKET: Faf du Plessis b Harbhajan Singh 34 (33b)
That happened in the fourth ball of the over. Kevin Pietersen is the new man. Three runs and a wicket.
Over 9 || Score 76/0 (Rahane 39; du Plessis 33); Target 122 runs
Another good over for Rising Pune Supergiants. 10 runs from it as Vinay Kumar failed to keep his line and length in check.
It started with a wide, followed by a 2. A dot ball to Faf du Plessis, the a single. Ajinkya Rahane took a 2, then finished the over with well timed drive down the ground for his sixth four. And Time Out.
Over 8 || Score 66/0 (Rahane 33; du Plessis 30); Target 122 runs
A busy over as Shreyas Gopal got his first over of the match. Five runs from the over, all singles.
Rising Pune Supergiants need another 56 runs with 10 wickets and 12.0 overs remaining. The opening stand now worth 66 runs.
Over 7 || Score 61/0 (Rahane 31; du Plessis 27); Target 122 runs
First bowling change from Rohit Sharma. Karnataka captain Vinay Kumar into the attack with his medium pace.
A dot ball to Ajinkya Rahane to start the over. A single off the next ball, then two more dot balls to Faf du Plessis. Vinay Kumar mixing his deliveries well.
A wide followed, then a dot ball, then another wide. A single to end the over, which made it a four-run over. Marked improvement from the fielding team.
Over 6 || Score 57/0 (Rahane 30; du Plessis 26); Target 122 runs
Jasprit Bumrah on for his third over. Good start, but...20 runs from it.
What a mixed up. Rahane and his partner Faf du Plessis ran at the same end, but Jos Buttler is not MS Dhoni. He threw the ball to the bowler's end and Mumbai Indians made a mess out of it. The wicket-keeper could have out-run the batsman, like Dhoni did.
That happened while taking a second run off the fourth ball.
Rahane hit the previous ball for a four. A pull shot.
The fifth ball ball was adjudged a front foot no-ball. First Free Hit of the season, and it was hit with such ferocity by a kneeling du Plessis that it went flat over cover. Flat flat.
Then another six, behind the wicket. Rare sight of an Indian paceman intimidating a South African. The pace beat the bat and du Plessis,, playing an evasive shot, found the to-edge.
Over 5 || Score 37/0 (Rahane 23; du Plessis 14); Target 122 runs
Mitchell McClenaghan on for his third over on trot. The over started with a single to Faf du Plessis. Then, the first six of the innings. From the unlikeliest of the bat.
Ajinkya Rahane pulled, and a top-edge for a six over deep square leg boundary. A single followed, then du Plessis came down the pitch and lofted with just enough power to clear the straight boundary.
Two dot balls, but still 14 runs from the over. Good one for the new team against the champions.
Over 4 || Score 23/0 (Rahane 16; du Plessis 7); Target 122 runs
Jasprit Bumrah continued for his second over. Three dot balls to Faf du Plessis, even as the South T20 tried all sorts of shots to break the shackles. A single followed.
Then, Ajinkya Rahane leaned back and played through the line and the ball raced through the cover boundary. Classic touch.
A dot ball, and five runs from the over. Rising Pune Supergiants need 99 from 96 balls.
Over 3 || Score 18/0 (Rahane 12; du Plessis 6); Target 122 runs
Surely a difficult wicket to bat on. But so far, the Pune openers are playing safe, according to the merit of the deliveries.
Mitchell McClenaghan continued for his second over. Two dot deliveries, then Faf du Plessis played a pull shot for a single. Good fielding at deep mid-wicket.
Then, Ajinkya Rahane timed to perfection to hit his third four. Beauty of a straight drive. Spared the umpire too,It was travelling.
It was followed by good looking cover drive, but found Kieron Pollard stopping it. No run. Another dot ball. Five runs from it.
Over 2 || Score 13/0 (Rahane 8; du Plessis 5); Target 122 runs
Jasprit Bumrah on for second over of the innings. he started with a dot ball to Faf du Plessis, and it was followed with a brilliant delivery, which went for a four. Unlucky.
The ball angled and got a fine edge off the glove of du Plessis, which raced down the fine leg boundary for a four.
Three dot balls more, and a single to end the over. Played with soft hands, to steal a quick single.
Over 1 || Score 8/0 (Rahane 8; du Plessis 0); Target 122 runs
Local boy, with a new team, faced the new ball with Faf du Plessis at the other.
The first over of the second innings, from Mitchell McClenaghan, started with a four, straight. A yorker gone wrong. The timing and balance, perfect from Rahane.
Two dot balls followed, both played on the leg. A faster delivery to trouble Rahane, who had no clue as the ball moved back thus forcing an outside edge. Good attempt for a catch at at point by Hardik Pandya. Ball landed just ahead of him.
The over ended with a boundary. Rahane flashed hard and it went past the third man.
MUMBAI INDIANS INNINGS
Over 20 || Score 121/8 (Harbhajan 45; McClenaghan 2)
Bhaji show continued. Mitchell McClenaghan took a single to give the strike back to Harbhajan.
Bhaji then smoked the second ball down the ground. His sixth four. Two singles followed, then a six over the mid-off boundary. Long handle use to good effect. And Bhaji ended the innings with a four, clobbered through the covers.
That 17-run over just about provided the defending champs just about enough reasons to fight.
Over 19 || Score 104/8 (Harbhajan 30; McClenaghan 0)
RP Singh on for the penultimate over. And it means, R Ashwin bowling the last over. He will have no complaints though. Remember all the fuss about that last over against West Indies.
A wide and a dot. Then Harbhajan Singh hit a four, through the cover. A single followed, then the wicket of R Vinay Kumar. Wild swing and found safe hands of Steven Smith waiting at deep mid-wicket.
WICKET: R Vinay Kumar c Steven Smith b RP Singh 12 (11b)
Then, Bhaji took two successive fours to end the over with 14 runs. Mitchell McClenaghan is the new man.
Over 18 || Score 90/7 (Harbhajan 17; Vinay Kumar 12)
Mitchell Marsh for his final over. It started with a dot ball to Vinay Kumar. Two singles followed, before a dot.
That was the 65th dot ball of the innings.
But it was followed by the second six of the innings, from the blade of Vinay Kumar, the batsman.
A 2 to end the over, and 10 runs from the over. Biggest of the day. That spoiled Marsh's figures: 4-0-21-2.
Over 17 || Score 80/7 (Harbhajan 16; Vinay Kumar 3)
Vineet Kulkarni needed some reviews to rule out a run out chance at the bowler's end from a straight drive from Harbhajan Singh. Murugan Ashwin's boot was not in contact with the ball, even though the ball crashed into the wickets.
That happened off the penultimate ball of the over, and R Vinay Kumar survived.
Five runs from the over, which like in the previous over, also included a four. Bhaji creamed the fourth ball for a four straight down the ground. Thus Murugan's figures read: 4-0-16-1. Brilliant.
Over 16 || Score 75/7 (Harbhajan 12; Vinay Kumar 2)
The over continued. And off the remaining five balls, Mumbai scored seven runs, including a four from Harbhajan Singh, who played an effective cut shot.
R Vinay Kumar is the new man. Bhaji's knock will be crucial here. He can belt.
Over 15.1 || Score 68/7 (Harbhajan 7)
Another first ball strike. This time Ravichandran Ashwin. And he's loving, so thus skipper MS Dhoni. Yea, that took some time coming.
A regulation short and wide ball, but ended up with a wicket. Thanks to a brilliant catch by Faf du Plessis.
WICKET: Ambati Rayudu c Faf du Plessis b Ravichandran Ashwin 22 (27b)
That happened off the first ball of the over, and time-out.
In the previous over, the second Ashwin leaked just three runs to continue pelting the Mumbai paltan.
Over 14 || Score 65/6 (Rayudu 21; Harbhajan 5)
Plenty more dot balls. Rajat Bhatia ended his spell with a three-run over. Brilliant one from the medium pacer.
A dot ball, then a single to Ambati Rayudu. It was followed by two more dot balls. Two singles to end the over.
Bhatia's figures: 4-1-10-1.
Over 13 || Score 62/6 (Rayudu 19; Harbhajan 4)
Five runs from the over. And suddenly this wicket looked so different from the ones used in the T20 World Cup.
A single to start the over, a two followed. Then a dot. Two singles and a dot to end the over. Brilliant over from Murugan Ashwin. And no signs of original Ashwin.
Over 12 || Score 57/6 (Rayudu 17; Harbhajan 1)
A good over for the batting side. Six runs, which also included a four from the blade of Ambati Rayudu, his second.
Harbhajan Singh also got his account open with a single.
Over 11 || Score 51/6 (Rayudu 12; Harbhajan 0)
Long time coming for the defending champions Mumbai. Fifty up in the third ball of 11th over.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni finally brought in an Ashwin into the attack. And Murugan repaid with the wicket of Sreyas Gopal. Good catch at long-off by Ajinkya Rahane.
WICKET: Shreya Gopal c Ajinkya Rahane b Murugan Ashwin 2 (16b)
Three singles and a wicket from the over. Harbhajan Singh is the new man.
Over 10 || Score 48/5 (Rayudu 9; Gopal 2)
Slow right-arm medium pacer continued for his second over. His first over was a maiden-wicket. And this one, a one-run over. Brilliant stuff from the Delhi-born player.
A dot ball to Ambati Rayudu to start the over, then Shreyas Gopal took a single, then Rayudu played out the remaining deliveries for nought.
Last five overs, 18/1.
Over 9 || Score 47/5 (Rayudu 9; Gopal 1)
Mitchell Marsh continued his third over. It started with a four, with Ambati Rayudu playing a whip shot to the square leg boundary. It was the first boundary in five overs.
Three more singles followed. And seven runs from the over. And the first TIME-OUT of the season, with MS Dhoni's new team clearly on top.
Over 8 || Score 40/5 (Rayudu 3; Gopal 0)
Another first ball wicket for another Rising Pune Supergiants bowler. Rajat Bhatia sent back dangerous Kieron Pollard. LBW.
WICKET: Kieron Pollard lbw b Rajat Bhatia 1 (8b)
Then, new man Shreyas Gopal played out the remaining deliveries to make it a wicket-maiden over. A rarity these days.
Over 7 || Score 40/4 (Rayudu 3; Pollard 0)
What an howler of a decision from CK Nandan. It was hitting, and a full toss. Lucky Keiron Pollard to survive that decision from the Indian umpire. Huge appeal, and perplexed looks from the fielders said it all.
That happened off the third ball.
The over started with a single to Ambati Rayudu, then a dot ball to the West Indian.
A single off the fourth ball, a dot ball followed, before a wide. A dot ball and a three-run over. Brilliant from Mitchell March.
Pollard has played seven dot balls, very untypical.
Over 6 || Score 37/4 (Rayudu 2; Pollard 0)
Another good over from Ishant Sharma, and Rising Pune Supergiants. The paceman from Delhi with a dot ball to Ambati Rayudu, then a single.
Then a bouncer, which went for five wides. Pretty high bounce.
A dot ball, then another wide. And three dot balls. Seven runs from the over. His extras, however, could harm team's cause.
Over 5 || Score 30/4 (Rayudu 1; Pollard 0)
What a first over from Mitchell Marsh. The Aussie all-rounder started with by getting rid of Hardik Pandya, then removed Jos Buttler to end the over.
WICKET: Hardik Pandya c MS Dhoni b Mitchell Marsh 9 (11b)
WICKET: Jos Buttler c Ravichandran Ashwin b Mitchell Marsh 0 (2b)
Pandya attempted a wild swing and ended up offering a catch to his India skipper MS Dhoni.
New man and high hope Jos Buttler was undone by a beauty of a delivery and a great catch by R Ashwin at first slip.
That brought two new men in the middle, Ambati Rayudu and Keiron Pollard, who missed the T20 World Cup due to injury.
Defending champions in deep trouble.
Over 4 || Score 29/2 (Pandya 9; Buttler 0)
Ishant Sharama continued for his second over. And the experienced bowler was hit for two successive fours, first one slashed over the cover, the second one flew off a thick outside edge through the the third man.
A dot ball, then a leg bye.
Then the flashing stumps, and bails. Clean bowled Lendl Simmons. Big wicket.
WICKET: Lendl Simmons b Ishant Sharma 8 (8b)
Jos Buttler is on. His first IPL match. Huge expectations. A dot ball.
Over 3 || Score 20/1 (Simmons 8; Pandya 1)
RP Singh continued with his second over and what a welcome from Lendl Simmons. A mighty six. Straight over the bowler's head. The West Indian reminding everyone of his knock against India. And the way he left his bat hanging after the shot. That's confidence.
RP, however, did well to concede two more singles in the over. Eight runs from the over.
Over 2 || Score 12/0 (Simmons 1; Pandya 0)
Sharma for Sharma. What a start from Ishant Sharma. He got the big wicket of Rohit Sharma, first ball, LBW. Umpire Kumar Dharmasena took some time to raise the finger, but it was always coming. Trapped back-foot.
WICKET: Rohit Sharma lbw b Ishant Sharma 7 (5b)
Then, surprise from Mumbai. Hardik Pandya at no. 3.
The wicket delivery was followed by three wides, then three dot balls to Pandya. Another wide, before a dot ball. Then, Pandya got an inswinger from Ishant, which caught him back-foot. The batsman in pain.
Four runs and a wicket.
Over 1 || Score 8/0 (Simmons 1; Rohit 7)
After a frenetic build up, the first over to RP Singh. The left-arm seamer conceded a single to Lendl Simmons. With that arrived Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma on the strike.
First ball to the skipper, and good contact. But the ball straight cover fielder. Looked like a belter of a pitch. Next ball, pitched up but on the leg, and Rohit flicked uppishly. Ran two runs.
It was followed by a bloodied cover drive. Then, a single, running down long leg area. Lendl shuffled and a dot ball.
Eight runs from the over.
Team sheets are out. From the vault, Mumbai Indians have Keiron Pollard, but not Lasith Malinga -- pretty much on expected line-up. Then, they have a certain Lendl Simmons and Jos Buttler who starred in T20 World Cup. Yes, both Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah are there.
For Pune, both the Ashwin's are playing, spinners and surprise, because a certain Adam Zampa was there to be picked. Another surprise pick is that RP Singh. And the surprise omission is that of Irfan Pathan.
Mumbai Indians: Lendl Simmons, Jos Buttler (wk), Rohit Sharma, Rayudu, Keiron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell McClenaghan, Vinay Kumar, Shreyas Gopal, Jasprit Bumrah.
Rising Pune Supergiants: Ajinkya Rahane, Faf du Plessis, Steve Smith, Kevin Pietersen, Mitchell Marsh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt. & wk), Rajat Bhatia, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ashwin Murugan, Ishant Sharma, RP Singh.
Moments ago, players went through the drills
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 9, 2016
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 9, 2016
This is the same place where India failed to defend 192 against the West Indies in the ICC World Twenty20 semi-final, then before that England chased down a target of 230 against South Africa in the same tournament... Mumbai Indians will need a huge total to start their title defence on a positive note.
TOSS: Rohit Sharma won the toss, and Mumbai Indians will bat first.
On the sidelines, Sanjiv Goenka told Nita Ambani is his idol and to start Rising Pune Supergiants' campaign against Mumbai Indians is a privilege.
Today's match officials:
Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena (SL) and CK Nandan (Ind)
TV umpire - Vineet Kulkarni (Ind)
Match referee - Javagal Srinath (Ind)
Reserve umpire - Virender Sharma (Ind)
And to start the new season, we already have the first glimpses of Ravi Shastri with a microphone, as effusive as ever. It looked as if he was never away from doing commentary. Yesterday, during the opening ceremony he got the honours to call out the team captains for the ICC Spirit of Cricket pledge taking. Revisit the Opening Ceremony HERE.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma, Lendl Simmons, Ambati Rayudu, Corey Anderson, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Parthiv Patel, Harbhajan Singh, Jagadeesha Suchith, Jasprit Bumrah, R Vinay Kumar, Lasith Malinga, Shreyas Gopal, Nitish Rana, Siddhesh Lad, Unmukt Chand, Akshay Wakhare, Mitchell McClenaghan, Marchant de Lange, Jos Buttler, Nathu Singh, Tim Southee, Krunal Pandya, Kishore Pramod Kamath, Deepak Punia, Jitesh Sharma.
Rising Pune Supergiants: MS Dhoni, Ajinkya Rahane, Faf du Plessis, Kevin Pietersen, Steven Smith, Mitchell Marsh, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Irfan Pathan, Baba Aparajith, Ashwin Murugan, Rajat Bhatia, Ashoke Dinda, Scott Boland, Peter Handscomb, RP Singh, Adam Zampa, Ishwar Pandey, Deepak Chahar, Jaskaran Singh,, Ankush Bains, Ankit Sharma.
After days of confusion surrounding the very likelihood of an Indian Premier League (IPL) match happening in drought-hit Marashtra, defending champions Mumbai Indians will take on newly unvield Rising Pune Supergiants in the tournament opener in Mumbai in couple of hours time.
The intervention from the Bombay High Court cleared the decks and at least, the season opener will happen as scheduled. But the fate of other 19 scheduled matches in Marashtra are unknown.
With that, let's see what's coming today in the match between Rohit Sharma's champions and Mahendra Singh Dhoni's Supergiants. It's pretty fixated an axiom that Dhoni and for that matter of Pune and RPSG Group have opted for the 'Super' thing, obviously from the now suspended Chennai Super Kings.
That's about the name or what you called the identity, crisis or not. The match at the historic Wankhede Stadium, however, will be about creating new ones. MI are the reigning champions, but it's a new season, and no team has won the title back-to-back, except the one MS Dhoni was leading.
For the Pune-based franchise, it will be a new start, even though the city had the misfortune of hosting the now disbanded Pune Warriors. And this time, albeit for two years to start with, they will hope to get the ball rolling.
The match, as expected for an opener, is already billed a high octane one thanks to the match-winners these sides have. And here are the players to watch out for today.
Welcome to our live coverage of the first match of the 2016 Indian Premier League between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants, being played at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.