On April 7, 2018, Chennai Super Kings announced their return to the Indian Premier League in some style by defeating the then defending champions, Mumbai Indians on the opening day of the season in a nail-biting thriller at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Chennai, who were returning to the IPL after serving a two-year ban for their staff members being involved in spot-fixing, showed everyone why they are one of the most loved franchises and why MS Dhoni’s ‘Men in Yellow’ were thoroughly missed in 2017 and 2016.
On the first day of the IPL season in 2018, the tournament opened with a blockbuster MI-CSK clash and Dhoni on his return as CSK captain won the toss and elected to bowl first. The home side were off to a rocky start with Deepak Chahar and Shane Watson removing Mumbai openers Evin Lewis and Rohit Sharma in quick succession with MI’s score being 20/2 from 3.5 overs.
But, the slide stopped their as wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav steadied the ship and built a solid stand among themselves. The two played sensible cricket with a mix of caution and attack and took Mumbai’s score to 98 before Surya fell for 43 off 29 to Watson in the 13th over and Kishan followed two overs later for a 29-ball 40 to Imran Tahir.
The two quick wickets slowed things down but Pandya brothers ensured that Mumbai had a fighting total on board and took Mumbai’s score to 165/4 from their 20 overs. Hardik remained not out on 22* while Krunal played the attacking role and finished with an unbeaten 41 off 22 balls.
Chasing 166 to win, Chennai got off to a solid start before losing way and wickets at regular intervals with all of Watson, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja and Chahar falling in quick succession. With the score at 84/6 from 13 overs, it looked like Chennai were in for a harsh comeback but Dwyane Bravo had other plans.
Bravo along with the tail managed to chip in with runs and despite losing Harbhajan Singh and Mark Wood by the middle of the 16th over, he didn’t give up. The West Indian along with Tahir put on a 41-run stand off just 15 balls for the ninth wicket including 20 off Jasprit Bumrah’s 19th over to take CSK’s score to 159/9 from 19 overs.
Bravo fell on the last ball of the over after hitting three sixes off Bumrah and it was thought the game was won as Kedar Jadhav had injured himself earlier in the game and walked off retired hurt. But, not that day. Jadhav came back to bat and hit a six and a four off Mustafizur Rahman’s fourth and fifth ball to win the game with a ball to spare for CSK.
Jadhav was the hero in the end but the Man-of-the-Match went to Bravo for his sensational 68 off just 30 balls as the season started on a dramatic note.
CSK eventually went on to win IPL 2018 to register their third league win overall.