South Africa T20 specialist Richard Levi made an instant impression with his six-hitting prowess as Mumbai Indians thrashed defending champions Chennai Super Kings by eight wickets, in the opening match of the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League.
Chasing a modest target of 113, Levi set the tone, clobbering the Chennai bowlers to race away to a fine 50, that included six fours and three sixes, on his IPL debut.
He added 69 for the first wicket with Sachin Tendulkar before being caught in the deep. But, by then, Mumbai Indians had the match in their pocket. They finally won with 19 balls.
Predominantly an on-side player, all the three sixes Levi hit were in the arc between deep mid-wicket and long-on. He doesn't have much of a backlift, and footwork is minimum, but that doesn't deter him from hitting big shots. although he mistimed a few today.
Tendulkar (16 retd hurt), despite playing second fiddle to Levi, also entertained the crowd as he smashed Albie Morkel over extra cover for a huge six. But he got an ugly bouncer from Doug Bollinger that hit his gloves. The senior batsman then left the field as he seemed to have hurt a finger on his left hand.
Earlier, captain Harbhajan's decision to bowl first was spot on as Mumbai Indians bowled out the defending champions for a paltry 112 in only 19.4 overs.
The newly-laid 22-yard strip which had some patches of grass on either side turned out to be a nightmare for strokeplayers as most of the home team batsmen failed to check their shots as they were bundled out for a negligible score.
While Mumbai Indians' bowlers stuck to their task, the Chennai batsmen helped their cause, as three of them, including skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, were run-out.
Lasith Malinga (2/16), Pragyan Ojha (2/17) and Kieron Pollard (2/15) all got vital breakthroughs.
Mumbai Indians got the breakthrough in the very first over when Faf du Plessis (3) failed to beat Ambati Rayudu's direct throw after Murali Vijay tapped the ball to extra-cover for a quick single.
Vijay, who has had an indifferent first-class season, failed to clear the field. As he was getting bogged down, left-arm seamer James Franklin's clever change of pace did the trick.
The Tamil Nadu opener couldn't connect what has been a trademark flicked six over deep mid-wicket over the years.
Instead, rival skipper Harbhajan standing at the 30-yard circle gobbled of an easy catch. Vijay could muster only 10 runs off 17 balls.
Suresh Raina -- one of the biggest stars in this format -- started well. He effortlessly lifted pacer Abu Nechim Ahmed over long-off for a six. He also hit a couple of boundaries on his way to 36 before Ojha sent him back into the dug-out.
As stroke-making looked difficult, Raina tried to give Ojha the charge but couldn't get the elevation and was caught out in the sweeper-cover region, where Lasith Malinga was stationed.
None of the batsmen, barring Raina, got going, and when skipper Dhoni was run-out, the chance to put up a decent total was also over.