Defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad made a perfect start to their Indian Premier League campaign crushing a depleted Royal Challengers Banaglore by 35 runs in the opening encounter at Hyderabad on Wednesday.
Veteran Yuvraj Singh’s blazing blade (62 off 27 balls) and unheralded Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan Arman (2/36 in 4 overs)’s crucial breakthroughs enabled Sunrisers to outwit a Virat Kohli-less RCB in all departments.
A challenging target of 208 was achievable on a placid track but RCB could only manage 172 in 19.4 overs losing wickets at regular intervals. This was the first time after 23 IPL matches that RCB were bundled out.
RCB’s top four – Chris Gayle (32), Mandeep Singh (24), Travis Head (30) and Kedar Jadhav (31) were all set before getting out. Kedar’s dismissal was the turning point as RCB were never in the match after that.
The India international was looking dangerous during his 16-ball stay and was run out when Ben Cutting’s direct throw from the deep found him short by a metre.
On a belter where pacers became easy prey for the batsmen, Sunrisers skipper David Warner rotated his spinners well, who took the pace off the deliveries.
Young Rashid, who created history by being the first Afghan to play an IPL match got Mandeep with a fuller delivery that didn’t turn.
The batsman trying to cut got an inside edge onto the stumps. The celebration was a typical Shahid Afridi just like his style of fastish leg-breaks. Rashid also got Travis Head’s wicket when the batsmen tried to play a slog sweep.
But Deepak Hooda got the most important wicket when he got Gayle trying to hit him over long-off for a second six only to be caught by Warner. The wickets fell at regular intervals and there was no pressure on Sunrisers as they coasted to victory. Ashish Nehra (2/42) also got a couple of wickets to reach a personal milestone of 100 IPL victims.
Earlier, a vintage Yuvraj hammered RCB bowlers to submission as Sunrisers Hyderabad posted a commendable 207 for 4, after being put into bat by Shane Watson.
On a batting beauty, Yuvraj smashed the RCB bowlers to cleaners after Srinath Aravind dropped a dolly at deep square leg boundary. Yuvraj was on 26 then and the drop allowed him to score his fastest IPL half-century off 23 balls.
Moises Henriques’ 52 off 37 balls also went a long way in contributing to Sunrisers’ total. The Yuvraj-Henriques pair added 58 runs runs in only 4.5 overs after Shikhar Dhawan (40) was involved in a 74-run stand for the second wicket.
Yuvraj’s innings had seven fours and three sixes while Henriques’ innings had three fours and two sixes.
Skipper David Warner started with a couple of boundaries and huge six over long-on off left-arm seamer Aniket Chaudhary but was gone when his slash was taken by a leaping Mandeep Singh at backward point.
Dhawan banged rival skipper Shane Watson for four boundaries in the final Powerplay over to set the tone.
Henriques at the other end chanced his arms to hit a six over long-on off Travis Head. Once Dhawan was caught in the deep off Stuart Binny’s delivery, Yuvraj came in and started taking on the bowlers.
Rajasthan’s Chaudhary, who has been with the India camp came in for special treatment including a lofted extra cover drive for a six apart fom two fours in a single over.
Aravind, who dropped him bowled a back of the hand slower that was dispatched into mid-wicket stands.
A widish delivery from Chaudhary was slashed past point to reach his half-century.
IPL’s million dollar boy Tymal Mills was flicked past short fine leg and once again picked the slower delivery into the deep square leg stands before becoming his first victim.
India’s T20 specialist Yuzvendra Chahal (1/22 in 4 overs) held his own without conceding a single boundary while Mills 1/31 in 4 overs bowled the maximum (11) dot balls.