Royal Challengers cruised to a 45-run win over the Sunrisers Hyderabad in their opening IPL match at the Chinnaswamy stadium. Asked to bat first, AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli guided their team to a mammoth total of 227, and SRH fell well short of the target despite Warner's valiant attempt.
Chasing a massive target of 228, the Sunrisers were off to a flyer. David Warner won the trans-Tasman battle against Adam Milne and hit him for a four and a massive six in the last two deliveries of the third over. SRH were 35/0 in 3 overs, and Virat Kohli threw the ball to Parvez Rasool in desperate need of a wicket.
Rasool, making his debut for RCB against his former franchise, delivered the goods. He knocked back Shikhar Dhawan's off-stump with a stunning delivery, which pitched on the middle stump and beat Dhawan comfortably.
However, that wicket did not deter Warner. He went after Harshal Patel in the fifth over and launched him into the stands in the third delivery, followed by a delicate flick down the fine leg boundary in the fifth ball.
The SRH skipper brought up his half-century, in just 21 balls, in style by hitting Yuzvendra Chahal for a six straight down the ground.
With Warner in rampage mode, Kohli brought on another Australian, Shane Watson, to the bowling crease, and the veteran did not disappoint. He dismissed Warner with a wonderfully disguised slower bouncer, and that opened up the gate for RCB to invade.
From 86/1, SRH went to 101/5 in the space of just 3 overs as the two spinners, Chahal and Rasool, spun a web around Hyderabad's middle order. The Sunrisers struggled to find the boundaries at will and the required run rate sky-rocketed through the roof. Hyderabad's weak middle-order, without their talisman Yuvraj Singh, was being exposed badly by the home side.
Ashish Reddy provided some resistance towards the end as he went after the spinners in a blazing knock of 32 runs, from just 18 balls, however, it proved to be too little, too late. The visitors fell 45 runs short of the target, and to start their IPL 2016 campaign with a disappointing loss.
Earlier, Sunrisers' captain David Warner won the toss, and decided to bowl first at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Ashish Nehra started off brilliantly, as he kept troubling Gayle and Kohli with his swing and unanticipated pace. Bhuvneshwar Kumar continued Nehra's good work and kept taking the ball away from the left-handed Gayle. In his secon delivery, he pitched one outside the leg stump and knocked over the West Indian's stump – with a bit of a help from Gayle's thigh pad.
The wicket brought AB de Villiers to the crease, and the South African talisman lit up the stadium with some breathtaking stroke play. Ashish Nehra felt the full brunt of de Villiers as he dispatched the veteran pacer all over the ground – first with a pull shot through the mid-wicket, followed by a straight six over Nehra's head, and a couple of deliveries later he drove him on the up through the cover boundary.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was taken to the cleaners in the next over by the duo – including a square-cut by de Villiers which went for a six. At the end of the fifth over, RCB were 49/1, and looked well placed for a big score on the night.
To make matters worse for the Sunrisers, Ashish Nehra limped off the field after bowling the first delivery of the 11th over. The short boundaries also did not help Sunrisers' causes as even mis-hits kept crossing the ropes.
Finally, in the 16th over, Bhuvneshwar Kumar dismissed the Indian Test captain with a brilliantly bowled yorker. However, that brought Shane Watson to the crease, and the Australian hit Karn Sharma for three consecutive sixes!
Mustafizur dismissed de Villiers and Watson in consecutive deliveries in the 18th over, but even that did not stop the flow of runs as Sarfaraz Khan went blitzkrieg in the death overs. The 18-year-old scored 35 runs in just 10 balls, which included five boundaries and two huge sixes. That cameo pushed RCB to a score of 227 in their 20 overs.
Chahal or Axar? Who will take more wickets for India?
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