IPL 2020: Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore subdue accident-prone Sunrisers Hyderabad
IPL 2020: The Royal Challengers Bangalore produced an all-round performance to beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by 10 runs and start their campaign on a winning note.Updated: Sep 22, 2020, 00:20 IST
Indian Premier League conversations have been dominated by Royal Challengers Bangalore down the years. No surprise for a side captained by Virat Kohli with AB de Villiers, a long-time ally in the power-batting stakes. Not winning a title in 12 seasons though means those discussions invariably involve the India skipper, despite his weighty contributions season after season.
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RCB took on Sunrisers Hyderabad in their first game on Monday with anticipation high on how the team that ended last in the league table twice and sixth in between in the last three years would approach the new season. And David Warner electing to bowl provided quick answers. Challengers scored 163/5 and Sunrisers had one mishap after another before being bowled out for 153 in 19.4 overs.
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The Dubai International Stadium pitch chosen was the same on which Delhi Capitals beat Kings XI Punjab after a Super Over on Sunday. That suggested a slower track and Kohli was expected to open with Aaron Finch.
Even in a packed season, it is tough to keep Kohli off batting. Due to Covid-19, he had waited 202 days to get a game, having last played in the Christchurch Test that ended on March 2. The RCB skipper though had spoken of a fresh approach after frustrations in 2019, and showed patience was one of them.
Kohli didn’t open. Instead Karnataka opener Devdutt Padikkal, 20, picked in the player auctions after topping the 2018-19 one-day Vijay Hazare and T20 Syed Mushtaq Ali batting charts, came in. Padikkal showed great assurance as he put away deliveries both side of the wicket and played fluent drives as well. His 42-ball 56 on IPL debut was admired by the Australian ODI skipper, who let the young domestic batsman take first strike and dominate.
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Padikkal raced ahead of Finch while SRH’s usually tight bowling department struggled. To add to their woes, Australia’s injury-prone all-rounder Mitch Marsh twisted his ankle bowling his first over, after being picked ahead of Kane Williamson.
Padikkal, who twice escaped being caught, was bowled by Vijay Shankar going all out in attack though he had cashed in and ticked team plans with a 90-run stand with Finch (29). With young left-arm spinner Abhishek Sharma removing Finch next ball, Kohli and de Villiers were together.
Kohli ran between wickets like old but lofted a slow ball from left-arm seamer T Natarajan to midwicket on 14 though de Villiers put on a show, smashing a 30-ball 51 to ensure a solid total.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the death overs and leg-spinner Rashid Khan made sure the total didn’t get too much though the day only got more challenging after skipper David Warner (6) was run out backing too far in the second over, bowler Umesh Yadav deflecting the ball on to the stumps.
Jonny Bairstow had scored heavily in Warner’s company last year. He had scored a century in the last ODI against Australia before landing. He and Manish Pandey didn’t take undue risks, showing that going all out would become less of an option as the UAE pitches begin to slow down.
RCB’s bowling has been inconsistent in past, but not on Monday. Finch dropped Bairstow at cover on 40 before Pandey (34) holed out leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, ending a 71-run stand, which turned the tide.
Bairstow (61- 43b) was missed by Dale Steyn and Padikkal, but Chahal bowled him and Vijay Shankar off successive balls as six wickets fell for 22 runs. Young Priyam Garg and Abhishek Sharma fell to nerves, the latter run out after a mid-pitch collision left Rashid Khan in a daze. Navdeep Saini took two in one over before the injured Marsh was caught swinging one-handed.