IPL 2018 preview: India Under-19 World Cup stars in the spotlight as Kolkata Knight Riders play Royal Challengers Bangalore

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Kolkata have three of India's Under-19 World Cup winning stars. Image: KKR/Twitter.

Royal Challengers Bangalore will look to put their disastrous 2017 campaign behind them when they travel to Kolkata to play the Knight Riders in their tournament opener on Sunday (18:30).

Virat Kohli has taken regular breaks over the past few months to keep himself operating at optimum level and the Bangalore captain said he has almost reached that level at the start of this edition of the IPL.

The Knight Riders are making a fresh start under the leadership of Dinesh Karthik after severing ties with the long serving Gautam Gambhir.

TALKING POINTS

Kolkata are without fast bowler Mitchell Starc but have decent cover in the pace bowling department. England’s Tom Curran, West Indies’ Andre Russell and even India Under-19 World Cup heroes Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivami Mavi are capable of carrying the workload. On the batting front, the form and fitness of destructive opening batsman Chris Lynn will determine how far Kolkata go in the tournament.

Bangalore have the luxury of Kohli and AB de Villiers in the form of their lives. There is every chance of repeating the feats of 2016 where Kohli made 973 runs and AB 687. However, pace bowling is not their strongest suit. The Royal Challengers will rely on the wily spin of Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar.

PLAYERS IN FOCUS

The Knight Riders picked the cream of India’s Under-19 World Cup winning team. Top order batsman Shubman Gill and fast bowlers Nagarkoti and Mavi will be raring to have a go at a stage bigger and more challenging than the U19 World Cup. It is unlikely Kolkata will go in with all three right at the start of the tournament but expect two to be part of the mix. The fast bowlers especially will be under scrutiny as one will know whether they have it in them to stand up to the big boys.

LIKELY LINE-UPS

Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik (c), Nitish Rana, Andre Russell, Tom Curran, Kuldeep Yadav, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Piyush Chawla, Sunil Narine

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Quinton de Kock, Parthiv Patel, Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Colin de Grandhomme, Washington Sundar, Tim Southee, Navdeep Saini, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal

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IPL 2018: Analysis of Dwayne Bravo's performance in Chennai Super Kings' thrilling win over Mumbai Indians

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Chennai Super Kings all-rounder Dwayne Bravo scored a scintillating 68 off 30 balls to pull off a one-wicket win over defending champions Mumbai Indians in the opening match of IPL 2018 on Saturday.

Chennai were 118-8 chasing 166 when Bravo opened his shoulders in the last three overs. He hit seven sixes during his knock and almost took his team home, getting out with seven needed for victory. There were some anxious moments in the final over but Kedar Jadhav too the team past the finish line.

Here we analyse Bravo’s breath-taking effort in Mumbai.

STATISTICS

RUNS: 68

BALLS FACED: 30

BOUNDARIES: 3

SIXES: 7

STRIKE RATE: 226.6

30-SECOND REPORT

It was a match Mumbai dominated for about 35 overs. At 118-8, Chennai were almost out of the equation. But tell that to Bravo. The West Indies all-rounder rolled back the years as he went after Mumbai’s premier fast bowlers Mitchell McClenaghan (1-44) and Jasprit Bumrah (1-37) to pull off one of the most remarkable T20 wins and cap a victorious comeback to the league for the Super Kings. Chennai fans have waited for two years to be a part of the IPL and Bravo’s performance was the prefect gift for them. Earlier bowled four over for 25. World-class effort.

GOT RIGHT

Are you counting? Bowled four overs for 25. Came in at No7 and when the team was 118-8 chasing 166 smashed 68 off 30 balls. Seven sixes against some of the best death overs bowlers takes courage and a lot skill. Even at 34, Bravo is going strong.

GOT WRONG

Got out with seven needed. Went for the glory shot against Bumrah after hitting him for three sixes. Kedar Jadhav struggled in the final over and had Jadhav not got those audacious boundaries, Bravo’s shot would’ve  hurt for a long time.

VERDICT: 9/10

One of the finest batting efforts you will see in T20 cricket. The game was gone with three overs remaining but Bravo used all his experience to show that in T20 it’s never over until it is over. Massive boost for the returning Super Kings.

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IPL 2018: Dwayne Bravo plays a blinder as Chennai Super Kings stun Mumbai Indians

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Bravo hit a stunning fifty as Chennai won by one wicket. Image: BCCI.

The eleventh edition of the Indian Premier League got off to a spectacular start as Chennai Super Kings beat defending champions Mumbai Indians by one wicket with one ball to spare the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday.

Chennai all-rounder Dwayne Bravo hit 68 off just 30 deliveries with three boundaries and seven sixes as the Super Kings pulled off an improbable victory.

The Super Kings were 118 for eight in the 17th over and on the verge of defeat. But Bravo let loose, taking Mitchell McClenaghan (1-44) for two sixes and a four and death over specialist Jasprit Bumrah (1-37) for three sixes to take the Super Kings to the verge of victory.

Injured batsman Kedar Jadhav then played out three dot balls in the final over from Mustafizur Rahman with seven runs needed before hitting a six and a boundary to seal victory.

Here are the talking points from the opening game of IPL 2018.

SURFACE TENSION IN MUMBAI

The wicket and Wankhede had more than usual covering of grass, which meant fast bowlers got to swing the new ball. Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma was missing deliveries by quite a few inches as Chennai seamer Deepak Chahar and Shane Watson got late movement in the air and off the pitch.

SPINNERS TAKE PRESSURE OFF

On a surface perfect for seamers, Chennai fielded three spinners and that turned out to be a poor move. Ishan Kishan hit the first three balls of leg-spinner Imran Tahir for two boundaries and a six in the 11th over. Suryakumar Yadav kept the scoring rate up from his end. He hit six boundaries and a six in his 29-ball 43 as he added 78 runs with Kishan (40).

KRUNAL TAKES OVER

Krunal Pandya targeted Chennai’s debutant quick Mark Wood. The seamer went from 0-13 in two overs to 49 in four overs all thanks to the hitting power of Krunal who finished with 41 not out off 22 balls with five boundaries and two sixes. His innings was crucial as his brother Hardik got hit on the foot once and injured it off the last ball of the innings as he struggled to up the scoring.

CHENNAI FALL APART

A target of 166 looked challenging but not beyond Chennai. However, Mumbai bowlers were all over Chennai from the start. Injured bowler Hardik removed Watson with a slower one and accounted for Suresh Raina before debutant leg-spinner Mayank Markande (3-23) picked up three wickets off googlies, including that of MS Dhoni. At 118-8, Chennai were down and out.

BRAVO, SUPER KINGS

However, West Indies all-rounder Bravo wasn’t done yet. He threw caution to the wind and went after Mumbai’s top seamers McClenaghan and Bumrah. Hitting three sixes off Bumrah was especially audacious as he is one of the best death bowler on the planet. Bravo got out with seven needed but the job was done.

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