The IPL kicked off with a contest between last years finalists, and in many ways, this game was very similar. Sunrisers batted first, and captain David Warner looked threatening early on, smashing the first six of the tournament in just the third over. However, Warner was dismissed shortly after, and it was left to Shikhar Dhawan and Moises Henriques to steady the innings and build a partnership. The two did just that, with Dhawan making 40, and Henriques going past 50 to become the first half centurion of this years competition. Henriques was good against the spinners, placing the ball into gaps, and even lofting one high over long on off Travis Head. Henriques has been coming off great form in the BBL and in Aussie domestic shield matches, and it showed with his innings here today. After Dhawan was dismissed trying to hit Stuart Binny for a maximum over long on and holing out, Yuvraj Singh came in and dominated right from the beginning. It was like watching the Yuvi of old, with the way he struck the ball so cleanly and hard, especially through midwicket when the RCB bowlers dropped their length too short. He had a bit off luck too, being dropped when on 26- a simple chance that really should have been taken. They say catches win matches, and when you drop a player as dangerous as Yuvraj, you only have yourselves to blame when he punishes you for it. Yuvi went on to make 62 off 27 balls, and with the help of late hitting from Deepak Hooda and Ben Cutting, Sunrisers made 207 in their 20 overs.
RCB were missing their two biggest stars in their run chase in Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, and subsequently this was always going to be a difficult target for them. They got off to a decent start, Chris Gayle looked in good nick, hitting 3 sixes in his innings of 32. When Gayle was dismissed, it brought Kedar Jadhav to the crease with Travis Head. Jadhav and Head have both been in great form internationally, and they looked to be taking the game away from Sunrisers during their partnership in this game. However, a brilliant piece of fielding from Ben Cutting put a halt to Jadhav’s innings, and this seemed to be the catalyst for RCB’s collapse. As the wickets continued to tumble, only Shane Watson looked like he had the ability to bring the game back for Bangalore, but even that proved a task beyond him, as he was out caught for 22. RCB were bowled out for 172 without completing their 20 overs, and it was a disappointing start to the competition from a team with so much potential. 18 year old Afghan bowler Rashid Khan was a mixed bag on debut, picking up two wickets, but also bowling several rank long hops that got dispatched to the fence. The star of the show with the ball was last years leading wicket taker Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who picked up 2-27 off 4 overs, and was very accurate with his death over yorker bowling.
Overall, it was a fantastic, energetic, dramatic match to set the pulses racing for this years IPL, and this served as a wonderful curtain raiser for this year.
Yuvraj 62 (27)
Henriques 52 (37)
Gayle 32 (21)
Jadhav 31 (16)
B Kumar 2-27
Rashid Khan 2-36