x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Mumbai Indians defeat Chennai Super Kings in IPL opener

Richard Levi's swashbuckling 50 eased Mumbai Indians to an eight-wicket victory over Chennai Super Kings in the first match of this year's tournament.

Mumbai Indians, in blue, got their IPL season off to a winning start by defeating Chennai Super Kings, the defending champions. Manjunath Kiran / AFP
Mumbai Indians, in blue, got their IPL season off to a winning start by defeating Chennai Super Kings, the defending champions. Manjunath Kiran / AFP

The scorer of the fastest hundred in Twenty20 internationals hammered a swashbuckling half century in his first Indian Premier League innings last night to power the Mumbai Indians to an eight wicket victory over the Chennai Super Kings in the opening match of this year's tournament.

Richard Levi reached his 50 by smashing Dwayne Bravo for six but the West Indian got his revenge the very next ball when the 24 year old was caught by Doug Bollinger at long on.

Levi, who in February hit the fastest international T20 century in just 45 balls for South Africa on their tour of New Zealand, had six boundaries and three sixes in his 35-ball knock last night, and shared an opening stand of 69 in 7.5 overs with Sachin Tendulkar, who later retired hurt after scoring 16 off 15 balls.

Levi said: "It came on nicely on to the bat. One or two bounced a lot. It was unbelievable [opening with Tendulkar]. He was very easy to talk to."

After Rohit Sharma was out for a duck, caught by MS Dhoni, the Chennai captain, James Franklin and Ambati Rayudu steered Mumbai to victory, reaching 115 for two in 16.5 overs.

Franklin was 25 not out while his partner was unbeaten on 18, hitting Bollinger for six to seal the win.

Harbhajan Singh, the Mumbai captain, who put Cehennai in to bat, said: "It was a good toss to win, the wicket is unpredictable, Levi played a terrific innings. If Dhoni would have stayed, another 30-40 runs would have been difficult on this wicket.

Franklin described the wicket as "a bit two-paced" and Dhoni said: "[It was] not a typical Chennai wicket.

"[I am] quite happy with the bowling, but as usual, another rusty start to the tournament. Maybe 140-145 would not have been difficult. Levi batted well though."

The Super Kings had earlier laboured to 112 when they were all out off the penultimate ball of their innings.

Suresh Raina top scored with 36 from 26 balls and the only other players to reach double figures were Bravo (19), Murali Vijay and Subramaniam Badeinath, who both made 10

Lasith Malinga, Pragyan Ojha and Kieron Pollard took two wickets each for the Indians, while three players, Dhoni, Faf du Plessis and Ravichandran Ashwin, were run out.

Ojha's contribution was perhaps the most crucial. He appears to have made a seamless transition from the Deccan Chargers to Mumbai, taking two wickets in his first two overs to stall the Super Kings just when they were looking likely to break free.

* Agencies

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