Rising Pune Supergiants might be a new team, but their old heads saw them through to an easy-as-they-come victory over the defending champions Mumbai Indians in the IPL 2016 opener. In a match where a lot of runs were predicted, the MI batsmen flopped spectacularly to hand MS Dhoni's new franchise a first victory in the history of the IPL.
The toss, you felt, was going to be one of the most crucial aspects in this game, but Rohit Sharma, surprisingly, chose to bat first on a wicket that had helped the chasing side throughout the World T20. This wicket, though, was not that batting dream which was witnessed in the WT20, with its two-paced nature and movement with the new ball causing the MI batsmen a lot of problems up front. Had it not been for a 30-ball 45 from Harbhajan Singh, MI would not have even got past 100, but the 121/8 that they made in their 20 overs was never going to be enough.
With the ridiculously-good batting strength that RPS have at their disposal, there was never really any doubt that the score was going to be chased down, with the only question being with how many wickets and balls to spare. The answer to that was 32 balls and nine wickets, as Faf Du Plessis and Ajinkya Rahane put on a great 78-run partnership for the first wicket to take MI out of the game, before Kevin Pietersen did the rest.
The Mumbai Indians did not begin their IPL campaign too well last season, forcing them to go on a tear in the second half of the season, but they will not want to find themselves in a position of having to do that again. Admittedly, the Rising Pune Supergiants are a strong team, but their batsmen need to play a lot better in their next match, if they are to make a better start in IPL 2016.
For RPS, this was as good a start as they could have hoped for, with Dhoni marshalling things well on the field in the first innings, before the experienced batsmen mastered the chase.