IPL 2018: Bravo stars in CSK's incredible comeback win

Though Chennai Super Kings won by a wicket and a ball to spare, the opener will be remembered for characters such as Dwayne Bravo, Kedar Jadhav and the new find, Mayank Markande.

Dwayne Bravo starred with the bat as Chennai snatched a last gasp win.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

“Art is going to make a bigger comeback than ever. That’s the upside to things getting challenging,” the popular line by American singer Lady Gaga still stands valid. Purists, flaunting almanacs, still prefer to search for art in cricket.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) opener between Mumbai Indians (MI) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at the Wankhede Stadium here on Friday offered an instance of art pinned with emotions that announced a royal comeback.

Photo Story: IPL 2018 gets off to a glittery start

CSK beat MI by a wicket, with a ball to spare, but the rubber will also be remembered for three characters  — Mayank Markande, Dwayne Bravo and Kedar Jadhav.

One had a solid debut, the other had a glorious return to his hood and the third displayed immense courage to come out and score the winning runs after being retired hurt.

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The yellow chase

Chasing 166, CSK openers Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu choked to the simultaneous bowling changes upfront. Before they could figure out Mitchell McClenaghan, Mustafizur Rahman unleashed his deceptive cutters; within a few seconds, Jasprit Bumrah came hunting at good length throwing in-anglers.

In short, three overs, three different bowlers and the result — brain fade! That’s not all, the game didn’t cater to the art for art’s sake mode. It meant art in its raw form.

After Hardik Pandya removed Watson (16 off 14; caught by Evin Lewis at long-leg) and Suresh Raina (4 off 6; snapped by Krunal Pandya at mid-on), Markande turned the game in two overs.

The 20-year-old bowled googlies to trap Rayudu (22 off 19; four fours) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (5 off 5) to turn the heat on CSK. Even the senior pro couldn’t read the wrong’un.

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When CSK was reeling at 119/8 after 17 overs, there seemed no chance of a comeback, but Bravo (68 off 30; three fours and seven sixes) stepped up and wreaked havoc. The old-timer, who wore the '400' jersey to celebrate as many wickets in the shortest format of the sport, snatched 20 runs each off Bumrah and McClenaghan to turn the tide.

The attacking right-hander took the aerial route seven times, five of which came in the death overs.

Six! Six! Four! Six! Six! Six! — the 18th and the 19th over were mirror images.

The drama didn’t end there, Bumrah managed to get the better of the calypso soldier in the last ball of the 19th over, only for Jadhav to come back (24* off 22) and hit a six and a four to finish off in style.

Markande (3/23) and Hardik (3/24) stood out with the ball.

MI innings

Earlier, sent in to bat first, MI openers Evin Lewis and skipper Rohit Sharma looked to gallop from the first over but the saddle had thorns.

CSK pacer Deepak Chahar generated a bit of movement that pricked  Rohit upfront. The first three deliveries, swinging away from the batsman, were dots. Gifted with a smooth hand-eye demeanour, the right-hander placed the fourth delivery through the gap over extra cover for the first boundary of the IPL, but the swinging slowers turned poisonous in the second over by Shane Watson.

Chahar trapped Lewis in his second over. The West Indies opener became the 58th player to be dismissed for a duck on debut, and the first cricketer to use the Decision Review System (DRS), though ineffectual.

However, Watson clearly studied the India opener’s locked-feet-stand-and-deliver formula. He set him up in the first six balls, conceded a six in the ninth ball — another first (3.3) — and dismissed him in the 11th ball.

Ishan Kishan, who came out at No 3, made inroads and looked set to run the full derby. His batting looked planned. The former India U-19 skipper went run-a-ball till the 10th over — 19 off 19 — but switched gears and snatched 18 runs off Imran Tahir’s first over. Kishan slammed the South Africa leggie for two fours and a six and suddenly, his numbers had a T20 flair — 36 off 24.

On the other end, local boy Suryakumar Yadav — 43 off 29 balls inclusive of six fours and a six — kept using the crease, like he does, and started finding gaps. But the right-hander is no more the rogue and carefree slogger.

The T20 Mumbai league heroics at the same venue must have instilled confidence; all of Yadav’s six fours looked neat. Even the six off the stylish flick that raced through the mid-wicket region echoed disciplined devastation.

After adding 78 runs for the third wicket with Kishan, he fell to Watson in his last spell. The slower delivery seduced Yadav to go for the kill, but he mistimed it to find Harbhajan at long leg.

Soon, Kishan — 40 off 29 balls with four fours and a six — followed suit. Tahir avenged the expensive over by picking up the youngster in the 15th over. The aimless swing of the bat led to his downfall; Mark Wood plucked the offering at third man.

But Hardik Pandya (22* off 20; two fours) and Krunal Pandya (41* off 22; five fours and two sixes) upped the ante and added 52 runs for the fifth wicket.

Watson (2/29) remained the pick of the bowlers for CSK. Chahar had a decent outing (1/14) in his three overs.

Most expensive player track

Rohit Sharma and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the 15-crore club, didn’t fire today. The MI skipper was dismissed for 15, while Captain Cool remained in single digits (5); at least, his side won the contest.

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