Pune restrict Mumbai Indians to 121/8 in IPL opener

Mumbai, April 9 (IANS) Rising Pune Supergiants displayed an all-round bowling performance to restrict Mumbai Indians to meagre 121/8 in 20 overs in the opening match of the ninth edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Wankhede Stadium here on Saturday.

Harbhajan Singh (45 not out) was the top scorer for Mumbai, while Ishant Sharma and Mitchell Marsh picked two wickets each and Ravichandran Ashwin, Rajat Bhatia, Murugan Ashwin and R.P. one each.

Opting to bat first, Mumbai Indians got off to a disastrous start losing their first four batsmen – Lendl Simmons (8), Rohit Sharma (7), Hardik Pandya (9) and Jos Buttler (0) – inside first five overs of play to have the team tottering at 30/4.

Ishant Sharma removed skipper Rohit with very first ball in the second over and followed it up with wicket of Simmons in his next, while medium pacer Mitchell Marsh removed Pandya and Buttler in his very first over.

New batsmen Kieron Pollard (1) and Ambati Rayudu held on for couple of overs but the West Indian’s stay in the middle was cut short by medium pacer Bhatia in the first ball of the eighth over to have the home side in spot of bother at 40/5.

The home side’s batsmen failed to stop their wickets from tumbling as Shreyas Gopal who looked to give some sort of support to Rayudu departed in the 11th over to have team in trouble at 51/6 and leave the packed stadium shell-shocked.

From there on, Rayudu and incoming batsman Harbhajan Singh played sensibly by sneaking in with couple of ones and twos without losing any wickets to help team cross the 65-run mark in 15th over.

With the dismissal of Rayudu, Harbhajan used his experience to best effect to stay in the wicket and pile on some useful runs with couple of boundaries and sixes for the hosts in the final overs to take team past 120-run mark.

Brief scores: Mumbai Indians 121/8 in 20 overs (Harbhajan Singh 45 not out, Mitchell Marsh 2-21, Ishant Sharma 2-36)

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