South Africa [ Images ] T20 specialist Richard Levi made an instant impression with his six-hitting prowess as Mumbai Indians [ Images ] thrashed defending champions Chennai Super Kings [ Images ] by eight wickets, in the opening match of the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League [ Images ].
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 [ Images ] 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 [ Images ] 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 [ Images ], were run-out.
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 [ Images ] 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 [ Images ] -- 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.