Dwayne Bravo © AFP
Dwayne Bravo © AFP

Over years Mumbai have made stars out of unheralded recruits. Jasprit Bumrah and the Pandya brothers have prospered here. And tonight they found a new hero — Mayank Markande. At the toss Rohit Sharma said he has “heard good things about him” (he must have faced him at the nets as well); and Markande stunned Chennai with 3 for 23 … umm, not quite. Remember the phrase “It is not over, till it’s over?” The Chennai-Mumbai rivalry lived up to the last ball of the Indian T20 League 2018 opener as Chennai edged past with a ball and wicket to spare. Dwayne Bravo‘s 30-ball 68 stunned Mumbai when they were in the driver’s seat before the penultimate over of the chase. Chennai, thus, scripted a memorable victory en route their redemption since the spot-fixing saga.

Bravo picked up the full deliveries by going deep inside the crease. In addition, it seemed like he premeditated the yorkers and picked them at will. He hit straight, and ensured to clear the field at all times. Before his heroics stunned Mumbai crowd, he had pulled things back for visitors with the ball as well. Earlier, after conceding 13 off the first over, Bravo turned the night into his own by giving away only 12 off the last 3 overs.

But Bravo’s innings was not enough. The broadcaster’s ticker even showed that Mumbai had won the match by 6 runs, but Kedar Jadhav had already made his way to the centre. Kedar had to retire hurt midway after pulling a hamstring. From the beginning it was evident that he could not run. Three dot balls went by before Jadhav went on one knee and lofted Mustafizur Rahman over fine-leg for six. Despite his inability to run, Rohit Sharma brought the fielders in. Seizing the opportunity, Jadhav creamed the fifth ball to the cover boundary.

Batting first, Mumbai’s innings were off to no start. Reeling at 20 for 2, they were given a much-needed push by Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav. The duo added 78 runs for the third wicket. They attacked in Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja but got few bad balls from Bravo and Harbhajan Singh. However, Shane Watson and Bravo curbed the run-flow in the death overs to some extent, despite Mumbai adding 100 runs in the last 10. The Pandya brothers, Krunal in particular, was in a punishing mood (41*). The target was, however, was kept under 180 courtesy Bravo’s overused-yet-effective slower bouncers and yorkers.

In reply, the Chennai openers looked to remain steady. Watson took on Mustafizur before the latter came back strongly with his variations. Ambati Rayudu, on the other hand, was content with timing the ball sweetly. Rohit shuffled his bowlers — Mitchell McClenaghan, Mustafizur, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya — and reduced Chennai to 51 for 4 from 42 for 1.

A certain Markande had by then removed Rayudu and MS Dhoni, both with wrong ‘uns. He ended with 3 for 23 — the second-best spell from a Mumbaikar on debut — being only behind current his bowling mentor Lasith Malinga. This way, India have produced yet another wrist-spinner out of nowhere.

Jadhav played out Markande (he survived a plumb leg-before off Markande), and looked to deal in singles. He did get a six off him and looked in good touch. Nonetheless, a hamstring pull forced him out of the park with Chennai reeling at 83 for 6. Chennai had nothing to cheer for before the script changed dramatically after 18 overs. Bravo went all out despite losing partners at the other end. He took on McClenaghan, but Bumrah was the main culprit.

Brief Scores

Mumbai 165 for 4 in 20 overs (Ishan Kishan 40, Suryakumar Yadav 43, Krunal Pandya 41*; Shane Watson 2 for 29, Deepak Chahar 1 for 14, Dwayne Bravo 0 for 25) lost to Chennai  169 for 9 in 19.5 overs (Ambati Rayudu 22, Kedar Jadhav 24*, Dwayne Bravo 68; Hardik Pandya 3 for 24, Mayank Markande 3 for 23) by 1 wicket with 1 ball to spare.

Man of the Match: Dwayne Bravo.