The Royal Challengers Bangalore overcame the Delhi Daredevils by eight wickets in what eventually turned out to be an easy run chase for the Garden City franchise. Thanks to a masterful big-hitting display from Yuvraj Singh and skipper Virat Kohli, the Royal Challengers achieved the 146-run target with 3.2 overs to spare.
Earlier, RCB won the toss and asked DD to take first strike. Kohli’s bowlers vindicated this decision by shaking the Daredevils’ top order early on. Mitchell Starc accounted for former Royal Challenger Mayank Agarwal’s (6) wicket in the third over of the innings. Soon after that, Albie Morkel, in his first game in an RCB jersey, got rid of the dangerous Dinesh Karthik (0), who could only manage a golden duck. And then, before Manoj Tiwary (1) could stabilise the faltering DD innings, first change bowler, Varun Aaron, had him caught behind.
With the scorecard reading 17 for three in 4.1 overs, JP Duminy joined Murali Vijay in the middle. The duo only managed to add another 18 runs to the total over a three over stretch. Thereafter, Vijay’s (18) innings came to a surprise end off Yuzvendra Chahal’s first delivery of the night; the young leg-spinner bowled a straighter one that snuck past the opener’s defense. Thanks to the constant pressure exerted by the RCB bowlers, DD were tottering at 49 for four at the halfway stage with Ross Taylor taking guard opposite Duminy.
However, that was the final dent the RCB bowlers made in the DD line-up. Both Duminy and Taylor then set about resurrecting an innings that had gone astray in the first half. In the process, they managed to get their eye in, and then, in the last five overs, dispatched the opposition bowlers to, and sometimes over, the fence. They were particularly harsh on Ashok Dinda, who ended up with forgettable figures of 4-0-51-0. Even Starc came in for some stick in the death overs as both DD batsmen rode their luck with miscued shots and occasional edges running to the boundary.
Thanks to Duminy’s (67*) innings-boosting half-century and Taylor’s (43*) firm hand on the other end, the Daredevils posted a competitive 145 for four in their quota of 20 overs. For RCB, Chahal was the pick of the bowlers as his incisive four-over spell cost just 18 runs and accounted for a key wicket on a pitch that turned out to be batsman-friendly.
In response, the touted RCB line-up also suffered a jolt up front, when Nic Maddinson (4) edged Mohammed Shami to the ‘keeper. Kohli then joined forces with Parthiv Patel, and the pair dug RCB out of a hole. They added 56 for the second wicket in seven overs to put the run-chase on track. Patel (37), however, missed one from Rahul Sharma and ended up getting bowled just when he looked set to take charge of the innings.
RCB’s most expensive buy – and arguably the most experienced campaigner in their ranks – Yuvraj Singh then stepped up to the plate. A couple of misjudged shots later, the southpaw settled in and almost immediately proved his worth to his new team. With Kohli initially leading the way with his trademark fluent strokeplay, Yuvraj seemed comfortable playing a vital supporting role. However, as the innings progressed, both batters showed just why they are counted among the best chasers in the business. With an assortment of boundaries – including three sixes in one Sharma over – they batted DD out of the game. Yuvraj Singh’s (52) first innings in RCB colours saw him post a 29-ball half-century.
Meanwhile, Kohli (49) just fell short of yet another 50 in the T20 format.
Man of the Match: Yuzvendra Chahal for his economical figures of 4-0-18-1