Even as Royal Challengers Bangalore kept losing wickets at one end, Chris Gayle struck 96 off 56 balls to ensure his team opened its campaign with a three-wicket win. Gayle paced the chase well, circumspect against the new ball before cutting loose - he was on 12 off 14 balls in six overs, before reaching 50 off 37.
"The new ball is a tricky one upfront. You got to have a look," Gayle told iplt20.com. "This is T20 cricket and you can catch up once you have that ability and that strength. This is how I am going to be throughout the tournament."
Gayle said he had backed himself to take Royal Challengers home on his own, turning down a few singles but more than making up with some lusty blows at the death. He took successive fours of Sunil Narine in the 18th over before launching Morne Morkel over long-on in the penultimate one. He was run out the next ball, but Harshal Patel and Abu Nechim hung around to complete the formalities.
"I wanted to bat the whole 20 overs and I just fancied myself to win the game and eventually it happened. At no stage did I panic. I know my ability and I know I can get it. I just had the belief that I could get the team home", Gayle said.
"For me, it was a fantastic innings but every other guy as a player played a part in it. It is never over until it is over and the lower order played its part with Harshal Patel and Abu Nechim taking us home."
Try to approach every innings as if it's my last - McCullum
Brendon McCullum said he tried to approach every innings as if it were his last. "I have tried to grow my game a lot in the last few years. I try to approach every innings as if it is my last," he told iplt20.com after smashing an unbeaten 56-ball 100, his second IPL century, to help Chennai Super Kings overwhelm Sunrisers Hyderabad by 45 runs.
"As a kid you wanted to see the game played in a certain way. It takes a bit of guts to do that sometimes but it gives me immense satisfaction to be able to play the game in a way that people would like to watch. It also gives me the opportunity to score runs. It doesn't always come off but when it does, it is a great feeling."
McCullum, who rued scoring only a single off the last ball of Super Kings' innings, praised Dwayne Smith and MS Dhoni's efforts and support during his innings. "Look, I was a bit reckless in the last game, coming off playing on the wickets in New Zealand where you can go out there and hit from ball-one. On a fresh wicket like this you have got to give yourself a few balls to work out the pace and bounce of the wicket. That's what I tried to do today.
"It also helps to have a guy like Dwayne Smith at the other end who is so effective and who can score at a great strike-rate. We have built a strong relationship at the top of the order and it was nice to get the team off to a good start together. I thought MS's innings was brilliant. He came out and took command of the game. It also allowed me to catch my breath a little bit. I was pretty exhausted by that time."
McCullum used the ramp shot to devastating effect on more than one occasion, and said it wasn't pre-planned. "I used to do it [practice] a while ago. I found it hard to hit the ball down the ground on this surface. I saw the bowler going for the yorker and so I tried to use his pace and guide it backwards. It wasn't something pre-planned, more of thinking on your feet."
De Villiers' wicket a huge moment - Cariappa
KC Cariappa said he will cherish his first IPL wicket - that of AB de Villiers - for a long time. "I was thinking how to bowl to AB. In the strategic time-out I was just told to be calm and not to worry about anything. I got hit for more runs in my over by him, but I sensed that AB (de Villiers) would give me the charge in my final delivery," Cariappa told iplt20.com.
"That is the reason I pitched it flatter. Rightly so, he gave me the charge and the ball beat him and he got stumped. Bowling to him was a huge challenge for me and picking up his wicket is a huge moment for me."
Cariappa, however, didn't have a particularly good debut, giving away 28 runs off two overs, and he admitted it was a challenge. "It is not a great start to my IPL career. I panicked and I was under pressure. It was a huge challenge for me to walk up and bowl my first over to Chris Gayle. I was just a little nervous.
"I should have bowled at a more accurate line. I will try to do things better in the games to follow."