Chris Gayle smashed an unbeaten 92 before R Vinay Kumar's three-wicket burst helped Royal Challengers Bangalore eke out a close two-run win over Mumbai Indians in a thrilling Indian Premier League match in Bangalore on Thursday.
Put in to bat, Gayle first single-handedly powered RCB to a fighting 156 for five before Kumar (3-27) picked two crucial wickets in a tense final over to restrict Mumbai to 154 for five.
Needing 10 runs off the final over, Kumar picked the crucial wickets of dangerman Dinesh Karthik (60) and Ambati Rayudu in successive balls to snatch victory for RCB.
Kieron Pollard gave the hosts a late scare when he hit Kumar straight for a boundary to bring down the equation to four off the last ball, but the RCB bowler kept his cool and gave away just one run and hand his side a winning start.
Earlier, after a relatively slow start, Gayle upped his tempo and scored his 92 off just 58 balls, with the help of 11 fours and five towering sixes, to take RCB past the 150-mark.
Chasing the challenging total, Mumbai made a steady start, with skipper Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar putting on 52 runs for the opening wicket before both departed quickly.
While Ponting scored a quiet 28 off 33 balls, Tendulkar was the aggressor, scoring 23 runs off just 19 balls, with the help of four fours, two of which came off successive balls, in Mutttiah Muralitharan's opening over.
Tendulkar did not take any undue risks during his knock and seemed eager to stay there till the end. But his innings was cut short when he fell to a close run-out.
Ten runs later, Mumbai slumped to 62 for two when Ponting was stumped by K B Arun Karthik off left-arm spinner Murali Kartik in the 10th over.
The talented Rohit Sharma (11) wasted yet another opportunity. The Mumbai batsman, going for a huge heave over midwicket off Vinay Kumar, missed a straight ball, which crashed on to his off-stump.
Earlier, after a relatively slow start, Gayle upped his tempo after initially adopting a wait and watch policy on a seaming Chinnaswammy track before exploding in the eighth over.
Even though wickets kept tumbling at the other end, the big-hitting West Indian was hardly bothered as he went about his business in style, notching his 13th IPL fifty and the first of the season.
The start, however, was far from rosy for the home team as they lost Tillakaratne Dilshan early, bowled by Mitchell Johnson with the scoreboard reading just three.
Newly-appointed RCB captain Virat Kohli played a short 24-run cameo before he was LBW by debutant Jasprit Bumrah, who returned best figures for the Mumbai outfit, scalping three wickets for 32 runs.
Bumrah, with a unique action, then accounted for Mayank Agarwal in his next over, caught by Sachin Tendulkar.
With wickets falling at the other end, it took Gayle eight overs to break the shackles; he cracked a boundary and a six off Bumrah off consecutive balls.
After a relatively quiet first 10 overs that produced just 59 runs, RCB rode on Gayle's pyrotechnics to score 97 runs in the next 60 deliveries.
After opening up, Gayle then targeted his West Indian team-mate Kieron Pollard, picking 15 runs, with two boundaries and a six off the 11th over.
Out-of-favour India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh gave Mumbai a much-needed breakthrough in the form of Daniel Christian, caught at deep midwicket by Johsnson.
Bumrah scalped his third wicket when he trapped Karun Nair leg before to see RCB in a spot of bother a 80 for four in 12.4 overs.
But Gayle and KB Arun Karthik (19 not out) shared an unconquered 81-run stand for the sixth wicket to take RCB past the 150-mark.