In one of the rarest scenarios of Indian Premier League overall, Royal Challengers Bangalore registered their first victory of the season in their opening encounter itself. Playing against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, Bangalore outplayed their opposition in all three departments. A few fumbles and on-field mishaps from the SRH players also helped the cause. Having said, this clinical performance is sure to give RCB much needed confidence going into the 2 month long tournament campaign.
Match Story: SRH vs RCB
David Warner, the Sunrisers’ captain won the toss and elected to field with an intention to capitalise on the moisture upfront with the ball and with a hope of dew playing a key role later on. The decision that seemed ideal to most people didn’t quite turn out well for Hyderabad. RCB openers, young Devdutt Padikkal and debutant Aaron Finch gave them a blistering start with the bat. They cruised along through the powerplay and rotated strike well even in the consequent overs. It was only on either side of the 11 over mark that both fell to an attempt to up the ante, score at 90/2.
Quick wickets meant Virat and ABD had to reconstruct the innings first before going after the Hyderabad bowling. While the former perished in an attempt to pull Natarajan in the 16th over, AB De Villiers made sure that he stayed till the very end. The South African superstar struck the ball well to all parts of the ground and brought up a quickfire half century in no time. It also gave the later half of the RCB innings the required boost to overcome the hurdle caused by Bhuvneshwar Kumar-led bowling attack’s discipline and consistency with the ball. The target for SRH was set at 163 in the 20 overs.
Warner and Bairstow, the pair that took IPL 2019 by storm opened innings for the Sunrisers. But just when the duo looked set to make most of the powerplay, Bairstow’s straight drive ricocheted off Umesh Yadav’s onto the stumps to catch Warner short of his crease at the non-striker’s end. The welcome breakthrough did bring smiles in the RCB dug-out but only for a short while. Manish Pandey alongside Jonny Bairstow stitched a crucial 71-run stand. The two did not leave any loose ball unpunished and kept pace with the required run-rate. The only bowler to cause concern to the two in the middle was the leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. His turn off the deck was difficult to be picked and also led to the dismissal of an ambitious Manish Pandey.
The injury to Mitchell Marsh while bowling virtually took him out of the contest, giving young Priyam Garg an opportunity to step up at No. 4. Bairstow meanwhile, continued his hitting getting his team to within touching distance of the target. With 43 needed off the last 5 overs, Hyderabad were the favorites to win the encounter. However, the spin of Chahal again came to Bangalore’s rescue. The leggie dodged the Bairstow’s bat to knock off the stumps while went through Vijay Shankar’s defenses off consecutive deliveries. The feeble SRH middle-order was therefore laid exposed and under pressure. With Saini and Dube closing up the innings well, It all remained too much for SRH to cover up, losing the match by 10 runs.
He was pretty much the lone warrior in the Sunrisers Hyderabad innings with the bat. Carrying his form from the century the other day against Australia, Bairstow hit crisp shots and long balls to bring up yet another half century. He played well against the fast bowlers and was also innovative with his shot-making. The six off Umesh Yadav paddling over Fine Leg was one of the sights to watch.
AB De Villiers:
ABD has been away from competitive cricket for a while now. But look at his hitting and stroke-making, one would only notice that he still continues to be the best in the world. If things went well, he was expected to return to international cricket with the T20 World Cup in Australia But ICC’s loss was IPL’s gain. ABD hit his vintage shots over cover, down the ground and behind square to bring up a well-compiled half century. He also reached a milestone of hitting 200 sixes in the RCB jersey due course.
How often has Chahal done the job for the team. In deep trouble, when the match was only about to slip away, Yuzvendra Chahal pulled out his best deliveries to dismiss the inform Bairstow and all-rounder Vijay Shankar of consecutive deliveries. He ended up with figures of 4-0-18-3 with an economy of only 4.50rpo. He was also awarded the Man of the Match for the splendid performance.
RCB has had its own woes with the openers over the years. While Virat struggled to find partners, the opening duo of Finch and Padikkal seemed to do the job for Bangalore today. The Karnataka lad in fact made Finch play only a second fiddle to his valiant strokeplay. The elegant left-hander was seen smashing the ball to all parts of the ground since the word go. His steady head while playing the lofted drives and fierce hooks emphasized his command over his technique. Interestingly, young Padikkal became one of the only firsts to score a fifty in each of T20, List A, First Class and IPL debut.
Turning Point of the Match:
The wickets off consecutive deliveries in the 16th overturned the match completely in RCB’s favor. Chahal was brilliant in the air and off the wicket making it difficult for the batters. He got rid of the half-centurion with a good turner and foxed Shankar with a well-disguised google first up. If it had not been for that over, the match was only going away from the Royal Challengers Bangalore.