Any IPL team playing against Royal Challengers Bangalore can come good if they take out Chris Gayle early. The cheap dismissal of the giant West Indian offers the opponents a huge psychological advantage because the guy is capable of wreaking havoc, when he is well-settled. It happened in RCB’s first match against the Kolkata Knight Riders, when Bangalore launched the chase and while other batsmen fell by the wayside, Gayle propelled the innings single-handedly. On Monday at Bangalore, Sunrisers Hyderabad won the toss and asked RCB to bat first. While Gayle lasted only 16 balls for 21, he looked a little subdued and tentative. Once he got out, the proceedings slowed down. Kohli’s 41 off 37 was colorless and if RCB could post 166 in the end, the credit rested entirely with AB de Villiers, who blasted a 28-ball 46. Except Sean Abbott, who scored 14 off 9, no other batsman could cross the double-digit mark with additional help coming from 16 extras in the innings. In contrast, David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan laid a breezy foundation for Sunrisers with the Australian notching up 57 off 27 balls before getting out. Shikhar Dhawan sealed one end and SRH never looked in trouble during their 167-run chase for victory. With Lokesh Rahul contributing a 28-ball 44, it was SRH’s game all the way as they emerged victorious by 8 wickets.
Sunrisers Hyderabad won the toss and asked RCB to bat first. Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli collected 20 runs in the first two overs but slowed down in the next two. After the fifth over was struck for 11 runs, Gayle was taken in the 6th by new bowler Praveen Kumar, who extracted a mis-hit from the West Indian that was well held by another new comer Ashish Reddy at deep backward square. SRH celebrated the fall of Gayle as Dinesh Karthik joined Kohli. While Karthik found it difficult to get into his groove, the bigger problem for RCB is Virat Kohli’s current form. Kohli flashed, missed and just couldn’t get going. His score of 41 off 37 was uninspiring. Most of the times, he looked like fighting some internal demons. When on 21, he was dropped by Karn Sharma off his own bowling. Except on a couple of occasions, Kohli just existed and his over-run-a-ball scoring rate came only in the company of de Villiers later. Then the SRH bowlers took out Karthik and Kohli in two successive overs. The highly rated Karthik played like a newcomer, scored just 9 runs and always looked circumspect as he holed out to a miscued slog sweep off Karn Sharma and Kane Williamson held him easily. Kohli was foxed by Ravi Bopara to be clean bowled and Bopara stood on a hat-trick as he removed Mandeep Singh off the next ball. Mandeep’s attempt resulted in a leading edge and Warner pulled off a stunning catch. From this point onwards, only one RCB batsman played cricket. AB de Villiers was as nonchalant as ever. He stroked fearlessly even as wickets kept falling on the other end. de Villiers 46 off 28 balls and to some extent Sean Abbott’s 14 off 9 took RCB to 166 all out in the 20th over.
The chase of 167 was nicely paced out by SRH openers David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan. There were no flourishes and anxiety as the two men played their natural game. It began with the first ball sent down by Sean Abbott, a full-toss that Warner dispatched to the extra-cover fence. The assault continued and by the second over, Warner and Dhawan had eked out 6 fours and a massive six. 36 runs at the end of 2 overs outlined the shape of things to come later in the chase. The openers contributed 82 by the 8th over, when Warner got out after scoring 57 off 27 balls with 6 fours and 4 sixes. SRH lost one more wicket in the 10th over, when Williamson was stumped. Afterwards, no RCB bowler could make any impression on Dhawan and Lokesh Rahul as they played sensibly and did not make any silly mistakes. They paced their strikes very well and reached the target with 16 balls left in the innings. It was a deserving 8-wicket win for SRH, who dominated the game in every department. They bowled out the opposition and batted with complete command in chasing the victory target.
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