Royal Challengers Bangalore battled their way to a 20-run victory over the Delhi Daredevils in their opening encounter in Bengaluru. AB de Villiers scored a well-made 64*, while Muttiah Muralitharan took three for 25, as last year’s runners-up began their IPL 2012 campaign with a win.
After being put in to bat, Royal Challengers Bangalore began in aggressive fashion with openers Andrew McDonald and Cheteshwar Pujara looking comfortable in the middle. McDonald was particularly brutal on the Daredevils bowlers. His powerful hitting was causing DD all sorts of problems, exacerbated by some sloppy catching. But the Daredevils battled through the initial onslaught to fight back with quick wickets.
Pujara was the first to go after he holed out trying to pull a short delivery from Morne Morkel. McDonald’s luck eventually ran out even as Doug Bracewell’s athletic effort paid off. 46 for two quickly turned to 59 for four; the in-form Virat Kohli’s uppish drive found Yogesh Nagar off Bracewell, while Saurabh Tiwary was unlucky to be given LBW after getting a huge inside edge. RCB were floundering and 21-year-old Mayank Agarwal added to their woes by mistiming the ball straight to long off. The Daredevils were well and truly on top by the 13th over. But AB de Villiers’ heroics with the bat, which included two audacious reverse flicks to the boundary, helped the visitors reach a competitive total of 157 for seven.
The Daredevils started their chase with a bang. Aaron Finch smashed Zaheer Khan’s first three balls to the boundary, but the left-armer came back to dismiss Delhi skipper Virender Sehwag off his fifth delivery. Naman Ojha hit and missed his way to an unconvincing 33 off 26 balls before he was snapped up at slip off Murali. Finch never looked comfortable against spin and it was Murali once again who caught him plumb in front. Glenn Maxwell, too, was all at sea against the wily Sri Lankan and his attempted sweep found the short-leg fielder. The Daredevils tried to keep up with the required run-rate but Venugopal Rao’s 23-ball stint came to an end after Agarwal took a brilliant leaping catch to dismiss him. RCB were in the ascendency and it showed as the visitors looked for quick runs. Skipper Daniel Vettori got into the action by deceiving Yogesh Nagar, reducing DD to 115 for six.
Irfan Pathan (24) tried his best to see the Daredevils home but was run out by Harshal Patel. The Daredevils could only muster up 137 for seven, 20 runs short of the RCB total.
Man-of-the-Match: AB de Villiers, for being RCB's talisman with a brilliant, unbeaten 64