IPL opener: Mumbai Indians beat defending champions CSK in their den

For a change, Chennai Super Kings fell at home as their batsmen failed in the Indian Premier League opener at MS Chidambaram Stadium on Wednesday, writes The Times Of India, adding that it suddenly became unknown territory for Team Chennai at their Fort Chepauk and Mumbai made full use of it to get their IPL campaign off to a flying start.

“The eight-wicket loss was CSK’s first in IPL at home since April 15, 2010 and it had a lot to do with the grass on the relaid pitch. The ball was doing a bit and the Mumbai Indians bowlers hit the right length, which made things difficult for the famed Chennai top-order. Once pushed to the back foot, it wasn’t easy for the batsmen to play with the kind of freedom that they are used to and the variety in the Mumbai attack did the rest,” writes TOI.

Indian Express, meanwhile, writes that one man was making his IPL debut, the other was playing his first game for Mumbai Indians, but both Richard Levi and Pragyan Ojha didn’t take much time to feel at home in the new environment around them. “Levi smashed a 35-ball 50 to see MI coast to an easy 8-wicket win after Ojha’s spell of 4-0-17-2 went a long way in restricting fancied Chennai Super Kings to a modest total of 112,” writes Indian Express, adding that while MI’s new signings thrived, Chennai’s latest acquisition Ravindra Jadeja scored just 3 runs from 5 balls and bowled just one over that cost 16 runs.  “And after the game it wasn’t surprising that the talking point among those wearing yellow in the stands was about Jadeja’s $2 million price tag.”

In all praise for Mumbai Indians, The Hindu writes that Mumbai Indians bowling was disciplined and the fielding sharp, but CSK dug the hole for itself. And the three run-outs — the running between wickets lacked conviction — did not help matters either. “To his credit, Harbhajan, apart from winning the toss, led the side capably. He kept the fielders in to create pressure, narrowed down the angles in the deep and rung in the changes well. Apart from a thrill-a-minute 36 from Suresh Raina, there was little in terms of contributions from the CSK line-up,” adds the national daily.

Meanwhile The Tribune writes that Harbhajan Singh's decision to bowl first seemed to be spot on as Mumbai Indians bowled out defending champions Chennai Super Kings 112. “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 shot out for 19.4 overs. While MI bowlers stuck to their task, CSK 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.”