Ishant Sharma got the openers out, Mitchell Marsh picked up the crucial wicket of Jos Buttler, the rest of the bowlers did their business and easy as pie the Rising Pune Supergiants picked up their first win in IPL history with a nine-wicket beating of the Mumbai Indians.
On a two-paced wicket, the RPS bowlers, asked to field by the home team, destroyed the Mumbai Indians top order in this IPL 2016 opening match, to quieten the Wankhede crowd. While Harbhajan Singh played a typically-Harbhajan 45 from 30 balls (7x4, 1x6) to take the score to 121/8, the Rising Pune Supergiants, led by their openers Faf Du Plessis and Ajinkya Rahane made the chase look easy, getting to the target with 5.2 overs to spare.
The chase was always going to be comfortable if RPS got off to a solid start at the top, and Rahane and Du Plessis gave them just that.
There was a little bit of luck in the first couple of overs, with an outside edge off Rahane flying to the third man boundary, while Du Plessis inside edged one just past leg-stump for a four to fine-leg. However, after those early scares, the RPS openers took control, with Rahane, in particular, impressing with some glorious shots, two of them straight down the ground.
With a kick in gear in the final couple of overs of the Powerplay, which went for 14 and 20 runs each, any hope of a MI comeback was snuffed out as the required run rate dropped to the four-five run mark.
Du Plessis (34, 33b, 1x4, 3x6) fell in the tenth over, bowled around his legs by Harbhajan Singh, but with RPS needing just 44 runs from 62 balls at that point, Rahane (66 n.o., 42b, 7x4, 3x6) and Kevin Pietersen (21 n.o., 14b, 2x6) saw their team home.
The opening innings was a complete mess, with wickets tumbling in a hurry in the first half of the innings to put the home team right behind the eight ball. Ishant good-length-ball-only Sharma was the man to get the wicket-train on track, picking up the vital wicket of MI skipper Rohit Sharma – the first of four batsmen who fell to an RPS bowler's first ball of the match. It was a nice delivery too, full and fast which snuck past the inside of Rohit's bat to smash onto his pads in front of the wicket.
Rohit's opening partner Lendl Simmons rather enjoyed himself the last time he batted at the Wankhede, but this would not be a night to remember for the West Indian as a brilliant in-dipper from Ishant (4-0-36-2) shattered the timber.
The decision to send Hardik Pandya in at No.3 did not work, as a top-edge off a ball that just stopped from Mitchell Marsh (4-0-21-2) made It 29/3, before a peach from the Australian all-rounder, full and swinging late away got the dangerous Jos Buttler, who could not make a mark on his IPL debut.
At 30/4, some kind of rebuilding was needed, but MI just kept losing wickets, with Kieron Pollard, lucky to survive an lbw appeal a little earlier, walking back after the umpire raised his finger to a ball that struck the batsman on leg-stump off the bowling of Rajat Bhatia, who finished with excellent figures of 4-1-10-1.
Such was RPS' dominance with the ball that MS Dhoni only used R Ashwin for one over, while the offspinner's namesake Murugan Ashwin, a legspinner, got all four, finishing with a maiden IPL wicket and 16 runs from his four overs.
The only reason the Mumbai Indians got past 120 was owing to Harbhajan's final three-over assault, which fetched the team 41 runs. Harbhajan has always been a clean hitter of the ball and that ability of his came to the fore in the last three overs, with shots straight and over extra cover coming out of the right-hander's blade. The final over of the MI innings, bowled by Ishant, was taken for 17 runs, giving the home team that little bit of momentum, momentum, which was punctured in a hurry by Rahane and Du Plessis.