Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat is nothing new for Chennai Super Kings (CSK), but not many were hopeful of a favorable result after the two-time champions were reduced to 118/8 chasing 166 against Mumbai Indians in the opening match of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 on Saturday, April 7.
Skipper MS Dhoni, who was leading CSK for the first time in three years, was one of the many who were pessimistic about the team's chances at the Wankhede Stadium. The former India captain, in fact, revealed he was hoping his team would be able to reduce the margin of defeat.
However, Dhoni was in for a surprise as West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo hit a 30-ball 68 — a riveting knock that included seven sixes and three boundaries — to help CSK return to the league after their two-year suspension on a high.
It was a fairytale finish at Wankhede as Bravo proved his class by taking the attack to the Mumbai bowlers, including top-ranked ODI bowler Jasprit Bumrah, under pressure.
The 34-year-old smashed 20 runs in the penultimate over of the match, hitting Bumrah out of the park three times in five balls. Bravo then played a rash shot and walked back to the pavilion, but he had already made sure CSK needed only 7 from the last over.
Kedar Jadhav, who had retired hurt over a hamstring injury, walked back and literally batted on one leg to make sure CSK completed a remarkable comeback.
"I'm a practical person, so I was hoping in the dressing room that the quantum of defeat shouldn't be too big. The idea was — if there's a chance to win, go for it, but also try to get closer to the target," Dhoni said during the post-match presentation ceremony Saturday.
He added: "The way Bravo batted, it was really good to see him take the responsibility.
"Don't think we batted well as a team. But it's the first game, so we'll take the positives out of it. Those will be more important for us in the coming games."
Bravo had starred with the ball for CSK, conceding just eight runs in his last two overs at the death, thereby helping the team limit MI to 165.
However, CSK were blown away during the chase as 20-year-old wrist-spinner Mayank Markande ran through the visitors' batting order on his IPL debut. He removed the likes of Dhoni, Ambati Rayudu and Deepak Chahar as the opposition batsmen were bamboozled by his googlies.
Dhoni lauds strong CSK support at Wankhede
Meanwhile, Dhoni lauded the support CSK received at Wankhede, and said the cricket fans in the country had missed the rivalry between the two heavyweights over the last two years.
Notably, a sea of yellow had flocked to the Wankhede Stadium, which was packed to the rafters Sunday. Even the television commentators expressed surprise at the support CSK had on the road.
"I think they missed the competition. Chennai Super Kings-Mumbai Indians is one game that people wait to watch. Support has always been there wherever we've played," Dhoni said.
"We're coming back after two years, that's also the reason that people are eager to watch us in action. Overall the spectators have been very good," he added.