RPS makes a winning debut

The Pune outfit came out all guns blazing to maul the defending champion by nine wickets, with a whopping 32 balls to spare. Mumbai Indians continued its reputation of being terrible starters, with nothing working for it on the opening night.

Rising Supergiants' bowlers struck frequently to restrict Mumbai to a paltry total.   -  Vivek Bendre

Ten days ago, the chock-a-block Wankhede Stadium – sans cheerleaders – had seen the home team go down in a thrilling World Twenty20 semifinal. The blue army continued to be disappointed by the home team on Saturday in the opening fixture of the Indian Premier League (IPL) as Mumbai Indians just couldn’t match the onslaught of debutants Rising Pune Supergiants.

The Pune outfit came out all guns blazing to maul the defending champion by nine wickets, with a whopping 32 balls to spare. Mumbai Indians continued its reputation of being terrible starters, with nothing working for it on the opening night.

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Mahendra Singh Dhoni has a reputation for his shrewd bowling change. And he got his act to perfection. Four bowlers – Ishant Sharma, Mitchell Marsh, Rajat Bhatia and Ravichandran Ashwin – got a wicket off the first ball they bowled, thus continuing to peg Mumbai Indians back.

ISHANT TRIGGERED THE FALL

Ishant fired his first ball on to Rohit Sharma’s pads in the second over. In his next over, Ishant knocked of Lendl Simmons’ leg stump. Marsh came on as first change and compelled Hardik Pandya, who was in at three, to top-edge a pull, offering a skier to Dhoni. Two balls later, Jos Buttler scored a duck on his IPL debut after Marsh forced an edge off him and R. Ashwin took an impressive catch in the slips.

Bhatia was the introduced in the eighth over and he trapped Kieron Pollard in front of the wickets. Pollard and Shreyas Gopal, supposed to reconstruct the innings after the initial blows, played inexplicable knocks, at an identical strike rate of 12.5 facing 8 and 16 balls, respectively.

While debutant M. Ashwin, whose mystery leg-spin had fetched him a huge sum in the auction, bowled four tight overs while accounting for Gopal, his famous namesake was the last bowler to be introduced into the attack. And R. Ashwin too struck off the first ball he bowled in the 16th over, with Ambati Rayudu, MI’s last hope for putting on a decent total, mistiming a pull straight to Faf fu Plessis at square leg.

Harbhajan Singh’s late charge off seamers R. P. Singh and Ishant towards the end helped Mumbai cross the run-a-ball mark. But it proved to be no challenge for the fancied Pune batting line-up. Ajinkya Rahane, the first half-centurion of IPL-9, sealed the match with a six off Hardik Pandya.