Royal Challengers Bangalore got their campaign off to a winning start in IPL 2021 as they registered a thrilling 2-wicket win over Mumbai Indians in Match 1 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Friday.
Chasing a challenging target of 160 for victory, RCB banked on gritty knocks from Glenn Maxwell, captain Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers to cross the finish line off the final ball of the match.
Maxwell, playing his first match for RCB after being bought for a whopping Rs 14.50 crore at the February auction, made 39 runs while Kohli, who opened the innings for RCB with Washington Sundar, scored 33 before falling to Jasprit Bumrah.
Maxwell and Kohli were part of a 52-run partnership for the third-wicket which lay the foundation for the chase. But MI bounced back in the match once Kohli got out in the 13th over.
Maxwell departed in the 14th over leaving his team in a spot of bother. Fortunately for RCB, they had the dangerous de Villiers, who used all his experience to tackle the MI pacers in the death overs and take the team within touching distance of the target by scoring 48 off just 27 balls.
Things got a bit too close for comfort after de Villiers got run out with 2 needed from as many balls. Super Over became a realistic possibility but RCB held their nerves as Harshal hit the winnings runs to get 2 points in the bag for them.
The result was a shot in the arm for the defending champions Mumbai Indians, who haven't won their opening match in the IPL since 2012. The win helped RCB improve their head-to-head record over MI with 11 wins out of 28 matches. MI have won 17 encounters against RCB.
Earlier, RCB rode on a superb 5-wicket haul from Harshal Patel to restrict the defending champions to 159 for 9 after electing to bowl first.
Harshal became the first bowler in IPL history to pick 5 wickets against Mumbai Indians. He took 3 wickets in the final over and gave away just 1 run to finish with outstanding bowling figures of 5 for 27 from 4 overs.
Debutant Kyle Jamieson and Washington Sundar bagged a wicket each for RCB.
MI opener Chris Lynn, playing his first match for the franchise, justified his selection in the playing XI with 49 runs off 35 balls while Suryakumar Yadav (31) and Ishan Kishan (28) also played crucial knocks but the rest of the batsmen had a disappointing outing for the five-time winners.
RCB will next face 2016 champions Sunrisers Hyderabad at the same venue in Chennai on April 14 while MI will take on two-time winners Kolkata Knight Riders a day before at Chepauk.