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De Villiers' Royal touch sinks Kochi

For the 45,000-odd fans at the Nehru Stadium, their new team winning the toss was victory in the first battle against Royal Challengers Bangalore. But Bangalore won the war in the end, thanks to an imperious display by their middle-order. Somshuvra Laha reports. Scorecard

cricket Updated: Apr 10, 2011 00:08 IST
Somshuvra Laha

For the 45,000-odd fans at the Nehru Stadium, their new team winning the toss was victory in the first battle against Royal Challengers Bangalore. But Bangalore won the war in the end, thanks to an imperious display by their middle-order.

Kochi Tuskers' Brendon McCullum and VVS Laxman, opened the batting and it worked like a dream. McCullum saved his best for Dirk Nannes in the second over, creaming 16 runs off him.

Vettori quickly introduced Tillakaratne Dilshan and himself, but by then Laxman had got the hang of things. He cleared his front foot and lofted Vettori for a boundary over mid-off and then spanked Dilshan for a glorious six. By the time the fielding restrictions were lifted, Kochi were 61 for no loss and Vettori had already used five bowlers.

Jayawardene and Brad Hodge slipped into the openers' shoes quite comfortably but the temptation to up the run rate was too much for them as both were dismissed trying to force a shot. Raiphi Vincent Gomez, the first Kerala 'domestic' player to play in the IPL, only lasted a ball but Ravindra Jadeja scored with purpose. The scoring rate, however, had plummeted by then and Kochi could only add 37 runs in the last five overs. That eventually did Kochi in. Sreesanth raised hopes by dislodging Dilshan in the second over. Later, Vinay Kumar pushed Kochi towards the brink by trapping Virat Kohli leg before. AB de Villiers and Mayank Agarwal tried to steady ship but the latter fell to Jadeja, allowing Muttiah Muralitharan to turn on the screws by mixing up his deliveries. Jayawardene's gamble to introducing Gomez in the 18th over paid off when he accounted for a settled Saurubh Tiwary, but in the process he conceded 18 runs.

AB de Villiers finished on a 40-ball 54 not out to silence the home fans.