Yuvraj Singh struck form with a brilliant unbeaten half century as Royal Challengers Bangalore crushed Delhi Daredevils by eight wickets in their IPL campaign opener.
Yuvraj (52 not out) shared 84 runs from just 7.9 overs with captain Virat Kohli (49 not out) for the unconquered third wicket as RCB chased down the target of 146 with 20 balls to spare at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. (Photos: Kohli, Yuvi steal show)
Yuvraj, who received criticism from some quarters for his slow batting in India’s loss against Sri Lanka in the recent World T20 in Bangladesh, began tentatively but came to his own later as he hit three fours and five sixes in his 29-ball unbeaten knock.
Kohli, who was adjudged player of the tournament in the World Twenty20 for top-scoring with 319 runs, continued with his top form in T20 though he was dropped twice — on 23 and 24. He hit two fours and three sixes in his 38-ball unconquered innings.
The duo competed in hitting fours and sixes towards the end of their run chase after opener Parthiv Patel had done well at the top of the innings with a 28-ball 37 which was studded with five fours and a six.
RCB left out Chris Gayle due to a back problem but made a strong start though they lost IPL debutant Nic Maddinson (4), the young opener from Australia, in the second over.
The other opener Patel and one-down and captain Kohli eased off the pressure of the early jolt with some sensible batting. The duo’s 50-run partnership came at the eighth over from just 5.5 overs with Patel finding more boundaries than his captain. Patel hit five fours and a six while Kohli could get just one boundary in the 50-run stand.
Patel perished while trying to play shots, too many than required, with leg-spinner Rahul Sharma cleaning him up as RCB were reduced to 62 for two in the ninth over.
Next-man in, Yuvraj looked tentative in the beginning but hit some lusty blows to ease off pressure. Kohli was let off on 23 and 24 in the space of five balls in the 13th over, the unfortunate bowler being Wayne Parnell, by IPL debutant Jimmy Neesham and Mayank Agarwal respectively.
Kohli and Yuvraj responded with a six each off Neesham to shrug off the let off by taking 15 runs in the 14th over. The Kohli-Yuvraj duo then decided to end the contest quickly as the duo took 20 runs from 15th over bowled by Rahul Sharma.
Kohli smashed two sixes while Yuvraj hit a maximum to add to the misery of Rahul who bled 33 runs from his three overs though he took a wicket.
Earlier, the Daredevils found themselves in tatters before Jean-Paul Duminy’s brilliant unbeaten half century took them to a decent 145 for four.
Put into bat, the Daredevils were reduced to 35 for four in the eighth over with their top order batsmen coming a cropper before Duminy (67 not out) and Ross Taylor (43 not out) shared 110-runs for the continued…