HYDERABAD: When IPL was launched in 2008, few would have thought that it would turn out to be a super competitive tournament. However, The season-opener between defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad and last year's finalists Royal Challengers Bangalore could not live up to its billing as the latter squandered away a good start to begin their journey on a sour note.
Chasing a mammoth target of 208, the injury-stricken Bangalore side were all-out for 172 in 19.4 overs to gift the match away by 35 runs. The match also marked the arrival of a superstar from one of the Associate nations, Rashid Khan, who used his fastish leg break to break the advent of RCB, returning 2/36.
The visiting side took a strategic decision when they elected to bat first as 12 out of 15 encounters on this ground since 2014 have been clinched by the team chasing. However, it turned out to be a lacklustre performance by them as the opponents continued the free-flow of runs, much to the delight of the 33,000-oddspectators present at the stadium.
RCB looked under pressure from the word go with seven bowlers being used in the first eleven overs. Despite getting the danger man David Warner in the second over, the fielders did not grab the opportunity to put pressure and fumbled quite a few chances. Warner's loss was Moises Henriques's gain as he combined with Shikhar Dhawan (40) to garner 74 runs for the second wicket. The latter was dismissed in the 11th over when he skied Stuart Binny's third ball of the match which landed in Sachin Baby's hands.
New batsman in, Yuvraj Singh, looked set from the first ball he faced as he displayed strokeplay of great exuberance, clearing the field with ease to reach his fifty in just 23 balls. Yuvraj was bowled by the most expensive bowler in IPL history, Tymal Mills, in the second last over on an individual score of 62. Though, the breakthrough came late as the damage had already been done with SRH already sniffing 200 on the scoreboard.
The other debutant for RCB, Aniket Choudhary, impressed with his speed but was unlucky as the chance of getting the all important wicket of Yuvraj was robbed off him when Sreenath Aravind, standing at deep fine leg, dropped a sitter off him.
RCB started with a bang, owing to some attacking shots by the openers Chris Gayle (32) and Mandeep Singh (24) but all that was not to be as the spin-duo of Rashid and Deepak Hooda removed both of them in two consecutive overs with the Afghan bowling Singh in his very first over of IPL.
The twin strikes did not dent the morale of the next two batsmen -- Travis Head and Kedar Jadhav -- as they maintained a run-rate of about 10. Despite a great start, none of the RCB batsmen could cross the 35-run mark, losing the last five wickets within the space of 18 runs. Yuvraj Singh was awarded the man of the match for his whirlwind knock.