Wednesday, 5 April 2017

IPL 2017, Match 1: Yuvraj, bowlers fashion dominant win for Sunrisers

Defending Champions Sunrisers Hyderabad got their campaign off to a bright start with a 35-run win over last year's finalists Royal Challengers Bangalore. Half-centuries from Yuvraj Singh and Moises Henriques played a role in Sunrisers getting to 207/4, in reply to which RCB were all out for 172. Ashish Nehra, Ben Cutting and Rashid Khan picked up two wickets each.

vishnu bhagat
vishnu bhagat

We break down the match in five passages of play that helped determine the outcome of the match.

Dhawan, Henriques lay ideal foundation for Sunrisers

Stand-in skipper Shane Watson won the toss and decided to back his batsmen to chase down the runs. Debuts were handed to Aniket Choudhary and Tymal Mills in the RCB dugout while Rashid Khan became the first cricketer from Afghanistan to play an IPL game. On a surface that looked good for batting, David Warner began proceedings with a couple of boundaries and huge six over long-on off left-arm seamer Aniket Choudhary. Choudhary however got his man when Warner's slash found Mandeep Singh at backward point.

Shikhar Dhawan and Moises Henriques added 74 runs for the second wicket. They ran well between the wickets and kept the scoreboard moving. Dhawan seemed to have taken his Deodhar Trophy form into this match and he looked ominous when he scored four boundaries off Shane Watson's first over. Henriques at the other end chanced his arms to hit a six over long-on off Travis Head and scored 52 off 37 balls. They'd scored at over nine an over to take the Sunrisers to 88/1 at the end of nine overs.

Vintage Yuvraj knock takes Sunrisers to 207/4

First over after the strategic time-out, Dhawan failed to connect Stuart Binny and found the fielder at long on. Soon after, Yuzvendra Chahal got a threatening-looking Henriques out caught at long-off. Meanwhile, Yuvraj Singh, who had walked out at the fall of Dhawan's wicket, began belting the RCB bowlers. Clean, crisp fours started to flow off his bat. He waded a pull and a lofted off drive off Choudhary for six and followed it with another pull for four off him next over.

On 27, Srinath Aravind put down Yuvraj at deep square leg and the let-off allowed him to score his fastest IPL half-century off 23 balls. Yuvraj's innings had seven attractive fours and three crunching sixes. Yuvraj and Henriques added 58 vital runs to take Sunrisers past 150 by the 15-over mark. The left-hander finally fell for a 27-ball 62, after which Ben Cutting (16 off 6) and Deepak Hooda (16 off 12) took Sunrisers over 200.

Gayle, Mandeep get RCB off the blocks

208 might have seemed imposing but it was never going to be out of reach for a team like RCB that's got tremendous batting. Chris Gayle and Mandeep Singh batted positively to take RCB to 48/0 in five overs with the Jamaican crunching two huge sixes and his partner scoring four well-executed boundaries. Mandeep then played on and the partnership was broken; it was the 18-year-old Rashid Khan with his first IPL wicket.

Runs continue to come for the Royal Challengers Bangalore despite the dismissal of the big-hitting Gayle as the Jamaican found David Warner off Hooda. But the wicket had no bearing on the run-rate as Kedar Jadhav and Travis Head continued to find boundaries. They took RCB to 98/2 in 10 overs.
Ben Cutting produced an excellent piece of fielding to see the back of Kedar Jadhav, who seemed to be building a promising partnership with Travis Head. Jadhav, having played the ball towards Cutting at deep square leg, turned back for two, but such was the power in Cutting's arms that his flat throw thudded onto the stumps and Jadhav was found well short of his crease. Once Jadhav departed, RCB never recovered.

They lost their next two wickets for two runs in a span of five balls. First, it was Travis Head who was out lofting to Adil Rashid. Few deliveries later, Sachin Baby lobbed a simple catch to Moises Henriques, who covered good ground to take the catch just on the edge of the circle. Stuart Binny and skipper Watson hit a few lusty blows but with the equation getting stiffer and the required run rate soaring over 14 an over, it was always going to be difficult for them to catch up. Binny was dropped by Naman Ojha but it didn't hurt much as the allrounder departed in the same over.

Ashish Nehra picks up his 100th

With runs difficult to come by, Warner turned to his most experienced bowler, Ashish Nehra. And the left-hander did not disappoint. Nehra picked up the important wicket of Watson and next ball, cleaned up Aravind for his 100th IPL wicket, becoming only the eighth bowler to the landmark, fifth Indian after Amit Mishra, Harbhajan Singh, Piyush Chawla, Vinay Kumar and Ravichandran Ashwin. Watson's wicket served as the final nail in the coffin. Bhuvneshwar removed Choudhary in the next over, and in the final over, with the run out of Chahal, Sunrisers picked up a 35-run win to get their campaign off to a rollicking start. This was the first time in 23 matches that RCB have been bowled out.

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