Mumbai Indians survived a brutal assault by Yusuf Pathan, who struck a belligerent 37-ball century, to record a thrilling four-run victory over Rajasthan Royals in their opening match of the Indian Premier League on Saturday.
Yusuf slammed an astonishing nine sixes and eight fours while making exactly 100 runs to bring the Royals on the doorstep of a victory after Mumbai Indians made 212 for six. But after his dismissal, the Royals were stopped in their tracks.
Yusuf was run out brilliantly by R Satish whom he had treated with utter disdain during his superb 107-run partnership with the unheralded Paras Dogra (41 off 29 balls) for the fifth wicket to raise visions of a great come-from-behind victory.
But the marauder from Baroda was run out in the first ball of the 18th over and the rest of the batting order could not provide the finishing touch.
Needing 12 runs in the last over bowled by Lasith Malinga, the Royals ended at 208 for seven after losing Dogra and Amit Uniyal in the first two balls.
Dmitry Mascarenhas and captain Shane Warne could not complete the job.
Earlier fine half centuries from Ambati Rayudu (55) and Saurabh Tiwary (53) following a sound start piloted Mumbai Indians to their highest-ever IPL total.
Guntur-born Rayudu, an ICL returnee, cracked 55 in 33 balls studded with 6 fours and 2 sixes while Jamshedpur-born Saurabh Tiwary slammed a breezy 53 in the same number of balls, embellished with 4 fours and two sixes.
The fourth wicket duo put on 110 runs in only 63 balls to lift Mumbai Indians from 70 for three to 180 for four.
The duo’s late order hitting, after the rollicking start given by openers Sanath Jayasuriya (23) and skipper Sachin Tendulkar (17) helped the home team end up with a 200-plus total amidst carnival atmosphere inside the famed Brabourne Stadium.
Left-handed Sri Lanka veteran Jayasuriya set the scorching run-scoring pace by lofting Dmitri Mascarenhas for three fours in the first over, two of them lofted shots in his typical fashion over covers.
The Royals commenced their chase to overhaul the record Mumbai Indians score on the wrong foot as they lost opener Swapnil Asnodkar in the second ball without facing a ball due to a misunderstanding with Graeme Smith.
Smith, who had to return home early at the end of the Test series against India after a finger injury, looked in good touch and was especially severe on Zaheer Khan by thumping the left arm pace bowler for three fours in his second over, two of them to the straight field.
Smith and wicket keeper Naman Ojha took the score to 38 when the latter departed caught in the deep off the first ball from left arm spinner Murtuza Ali for 12.
Smith fell two runs later, deceived by a slower ball from Satish who anticipated the catch and caught him diving to his left, a brilliant effort.
Abhishek Jhunjhunwala and Yusuf Pathan forged a small stand of 26 when the former, who stepped out and lofted Murtuza over the straight field once, got himself yorked by Lasith Malinga.
At 66 for 4 in the tenth over things did not look good for the visiting side but then Yusuf took apart Murtuza and Satish with his audacious shots to race to his fifty which was appreciated by the partisan crowd thoroughly.
The Baroda batsman slammed the slow left arm bowler for three consecutive sixes, two of those over long on, in one over that yielded 19 runs and then turned his attention on Satish who was carted for 26 runs in the 11th over as Pathan went berserk.
After slamming Sathish for a six and a four in consecutive balls, the tall batsman hoisted the bowler high to the long on fence where Ryan McLaren caught the ball but also touched the boundary rope to signal another six.
The last ball of the over was disdainfully dispatched to the backward square leg fence.
Pathan’s brilliantly executed shots brought down the asking rate drastically so that at the end of the 13th over the score read 131 for four after the all rounder struck McLaren for three fours in that over.