IPL: Best opening games that set the stage for scintillating seasons
IPL has had 12 editions so far, with the 13th edition stating September 19. Mumbai Indians are the four-time defending champions.
The lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) has made a name for itself as it is the most popular and the most-watched T20 league in the world. The intensity of the tournament, along with every match, is so high that the fans are up for a treat every time they watch a game.
Furthermore, the fans also look forward to the opening game of each season, as it promises to be a thriller. On the same note, we take a look at some of the best opening games of all time in IPL's illustrious history so far.
1. Chennai make lucky escape against Kolkata (2011)
MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) were the then undisputed kings of the IPL, having won the title for two consecutive seasons. As they started their title-defence campaign in the 2011 season, they were up against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), who had finished fourth the previous season.
Playing at their home ground in Chennai, CSK were favourites to win the tie. They were off to a flying start, as Srikkanth Anirudha's 55-ball 64 ensured a moderate total of 153/4, while Suresh Raina too contributed decently (33).
Nonetheless, it was in the second innings when things got interesting, as KKR were off to a flying start. They lost their opening wicket (Manvinder Bisla) at the score of 64. However, South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis was in a serious mood, as he played a grand innings of 54.
Yet, as the innings progressed, it became a difficult track to bat upon, as the KKR batsmen found it difficult to go for the shots. It was Tim Southee's experience that allowed CSK to defend nine runs in the final over, as the visitors fell short by just a couple of runs in a nail-biting opener.
2. CSK make a mighty return after 2 years (2018)
It was already an emotional moment for CSK in 2018, as they were making a return to the tournament following a two-year hiatus, owing to a suspension. As fans were hyped ahead of their return, it became even bigger as they opened their season campaign against defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI).
Playing at home and put into bat, MI posted a modest total of 165/4, courtesy of three splendid innings from Ishan Kishan (40), Suryakumar Yadav (43) and Krunal Pandya (41 not out).
Chasing it, CSK suffered setbacks, as they were struggling at 84/6. But, just then, it was an out of the world knock from Dwayne Bravo, whose 30-ball 68 completely turned the match upside-down. Although his dismissal put MI back on the driver's seat at 159/9, it was an injured Kedar Jadhav, who kept his cool to steer CSK home with a 22-ball 24, with just a ball to spare, as fans went ecstatic.
1. Brendon McCullum lights up IPL in style (2008)
Well.... this has to be on the top of the list. The opening game of the inaugural edition is still etched crystal clear in the memories of all IPL fans.
Dravid threw all his best bowlers at him, but McCullum continued to smash each of them all over the park, as he scored 158 off just 73 balls, which included 13 sixes. KKR posted a mammoth total of 22/3.
Chasing the herculean target, RCB batsmen kept on collapsing in the process to score big, as renowned pacer Ajit Agarkar's 3/25 just derailed RCB's train. The hosts were completely demoralised, as they were bundled for a mere 82. Fans, along with KKR owner and Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, went into a frenzy, as IPL got the rightful start it deserved and it was the perfect beginning for the global brand that it is currently.