IPL 2021: Top 5 best opening matches in the history of the tournament

The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 is set to begin with a clash between Mumbai Indians (MI) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). The opening match will see a tough contest between the team of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli and Co. Given how this much-anticipated contest has been kept at the beginning of the tournament, let us recall the top 5 opening matches, which remain etched in the IPL history books.

1. RCB vs KKR (2008)

Brendon McCullum 2008 IPL. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The first-ever match wasn’t the most memorable contest which he had seen. But, this match belongs to only man and his heroics which gave the IPL the ideal start which was required. On 18 April 2008, the M Chinnaswamy Stadium witnessed a knock that hasn’t been forgotten yet.

Brendon McCullum hit an unbeaten 158 off just 73 balls, tearing apart all the RCB bowlers. That night all the RCB bowlers got hit. Kolkata Knight Riders went on to win the match by a record 140 runs as RCB were bowled out for 82 only.

Bangalore couldn’t get over the loss and ended at the seventh position that season.

2. CSK vs KKR (2011)

Jacques Kallis. (Photo by Carl Fourie/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Six days after Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni’s partnership in the World Cup final, the two came up against each other as the captain of their IPL teams. For KKR, it was the beginning of an era, as they appointed Gambhir as the captain, letting go of Kolkata’s champion player Sourav Ganguly.

On a slowish track, CSK scored 153 for 4, on the back of Srikkanth Anirudha’s 64. KKR were well on the course of the chase but collapsed drastically after Jacques Kallis made 54. Tim Southee, bowled an exceptional over to bail out the CSK franchise and helped his side to clinch a two-run win.

3. MI vs KKR (2015)

Rohit Sharma. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

KKR walked into the IPL 2015, having won nine consecutive matches to win the title in 2015. They were looking set to win their 10th IPL match in a row and begin their campaign in style. However, Rohit Sharma and his impeccable record at the Eden Gardens stood in front of them.

Mumbai started slowly and ended at 168 for 3 as Rohit scored an unbeaten 98. But, KKR, who had mastered T20 chases during those days, notched up the total with solid hands from Gautam Gambhir (56), Manish Pandey (40), and Suryakumar Yadav (46 runs).

4. MI vs CSK (2018)

Kedar Jadhav. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

In the 2018 IPL, CSK was returning after serving their two-year ban in the league. This made for a great contest as they were set up with a match date with their arch-rivals, Mumbai Indians. Some 40s and Chennai’s top-notch bowling meant Dhoni’s team was chasing 166.

But, the drama was yet to unfold, as the match seemed to have been done and dusted at 118 for 8. Dwayne Bravo struck with 68 runs from 30 balls but failed to seal the win, only for a one-legged Kedar Jadhav, to come and finish the run chase.

This match set up a brilliant winning start to CSK’s campaign, where they ended up winning the title.

5. MI vs CSK (2020)

Ambati Rayudu. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

After the top-notch clash between Mumbai and Chennai in 2018, the two teams took on each other once again in an opening match in 2020. This was the first match of any interest for the Indian fans after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mumbai batted first and posted a total of 162 for 9, Saurabh Tiwary top-scoring with 42. Chennai’s chase didn’t start off well. But Ambati Rayudu was one player during the match who didn’t seem scratchy scoring 71 runs off 48 balls, taking on the bowlers.

Chennai won this match by five wickets. Faf du Plessis’ 58 was also crucial as he guided the chase once Rayudu was dismissed. 

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