Sachin Tendulkar led from the front as Mumbai Indians launched their campaign in the second edition of the Indian Premier League with a stunning 19-run victory over last year's runners-up Chennai Super Kings in Cape Town on Saturday.
Riding on Tendulkar's masterly unbeaten 59 and a quickfire 35 from Abhishek Nayar, Mumbai Indians first rattled up a competitive 166 for 7 and then stopped Super Kings at 146 for seven at the Newlands stadium.
It was a commendable display by Mumbai Indians. They outplayed their fancied opponents in all departments of the game to gain two points and start their campaign in resounding fashion.
Tendulkar played the pivotal role, anchoring the innings with a crafty unbeaten 59, but it was young Nayar who provided the impetus late in the innings with a 14-ball 35 that took Mumbai to a decent total on what appeared to be a rather spongy track.
The experienced Sanath Jayasuriya was the other notable performer for Mumbai Indians with a 20-ball 26 while Shikar Dhawan chipped in with 22.
Chennai never really recovered from a disastrous start and although Matthew Hayden (44), captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (36) and Andrew Flintoff (24) got decent scores, they were not enough to overhaul Mumbai's target.
Sri Lankan paceman Lasith Malinga was the pick of the Mumbai Indians' bowlers with impressive figures of 4-0-15-3 while the wily Jayasuriya chipped in with two wickets.
Chennai lost opener Parthiv Patel to the second ball of the innings and found it difficult to maintain the asking rate which kept climbing as the innings wore on.
While Tendulkar, who was adjudged man of the match, paced his innings brilliantly it was Nayar who changed the complexion of the game with his lusty hitting.
Nayar was particularly severe on Andrew Flintoff, the most expensive player of the second edition of the IPL, blasting him for 22 runs, including three sixes, in one over to give the innings the much-needed boost.
Put into bat, the Mumbai Indians got off to a decent start with stalwarts Tendulkar and Jayasuriya maintaining a fairly brisk pace though the Newlands track was not really conducive for strokeplay.
The left-handed Jayasuriya was the more aggressive of the two batsmen and picked inexperienced paceman Manpreet Gony for special treatment, clobbering him for a few boundaries.
Tendulkar, in tremendous form of late, got a reprieve when on 10 as Matthew Hayden dropped a simple catch in first slip, much to the disappointment of his teammates.
But Hayden made amends soon after by latching on to a simple catch at the mid-on region to send back Jayasuriya who was looking quite dangerous. It was Sri Lankan paceman Thilan Thushara who provided the breakthrough for Chennai Super Kings.
Jayasuriya failed to control his shot and the ball balooned to Hayden. The former Sri Lanka captain's 20-ball 26 contained five boundaries.
Shikar Dhawan joined Tendulkar and the duo took the score to 82 before Gony got rid of Dhawan, who tried to accelerate the pace of scoring shortly after the break.
The Mumbai team lost the wickets of young South African sensation J P Duminy (9) and West Indian Dwayne Bravo (5) in quick succession and were reduced to 102 for four at one stage.
It was mainly due to Nayar's stunning assault that Mumbai Indians could surpass the 150-run mark. His 14-ball 35 was laced with three sixes and two fours.