A blistering innings of 92 from West Indian star Chris Gayle proved pivotal as Royal Challengers Banglaore narrowly edged past the Mumbai Indians in their IPL opener at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Despite picking up a muscle strain midway through his knock, the Orange Cap holder launched 11 fours and five sixes in a typically belligerent knock to rescue his team after the Indians had made some initial inroads with the ball.
Upon winning the toss, Indians Skipper Ricky Ponting invited the Challengers to bat first and that decision was immediately rewarded on a wicket offering the seamers plenty of assistance.
Australian paceman Mitchell Johnson cleaned up Tilekeratne Dilshan for a duck in the third over, and Virat Kohli, Mayank Agarwal, Dan Christian and Karun Nair soon followed him back to the shed to leave the Challengers reeling on 4/75 just past the halfway stage of the innings.
But with Gayle still at the crease and powering the ball to all parts, the Challengers eventually recovered to post a testing total of 5/156 on a tricky track.
In response, Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar showed calm heads to make a steady start before Tendulkar was run out for 23 with the tally on 52 in the 8th over.
Ponting soon followed but at 2/62 after 10 overs, the Indians still looked on course to kick off their 2013 IPL with a victory.
A couple of tight overs in the middle of the innings looked to have swung things back the Challengers way until Dinesh Karthik kicked in with a 37-ball knock of 60 to put the visitors in charge.
The Indians needed just nine off the last over to claim the points, but an inspired six deliveries from Vinay Kumar resulted in two wickets for the loss of just seven runs as the Challengers edged home.
The Indians will have a chance to bounce back when they travel to play the Chennai Super Kings on Saturday, with the Challengers make the visit to Sunrisers Hyderabad for their IPL bow on Sunday.
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