Sunrisers Hyderabad began the defence of their IPL title with a 35-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in the tournament’s opening game Wednesday.
Yuvraj Singh starred with the bat for Sunrisers, bludgeoning 62 off 27 balls, before becoming Tymal Mills’ first IPL victim when clean bowled in the 19th over.
Set a challenging 208-run target, the injury-depleted RCB – missing Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers – were well-placed at 116-2 in the 12th over, with Travis Head (30 off 22 balls) and Kedar Jadhav (31 off 16) sharing a fifty partnership.
But Ben Cutting’s fine run-out of Jadhav off a direct hit turned the innings, and RCB lost their last eight wickets for 56 runs as they were bowled out for 172 with two balls of their innings to spare.
Sunrisers’ 18-year-old Afghanistan legspinner Rashid Khan impressed on his IPL debut, finishing with 2-36 from his four overs.
Earlier, England left-arm quick Mills (1-31) got the 10th edition of the IPL underway, bowling the first over, while Aniket Choudhary removed the dangerous Sunrisers skipper, David Warner (14), in the second.
In spite of the setback, Shikhar Dhawan (40 off 31) swiftly smashed four boundaries off Shane Watson’s first over, the sixth of the innings, as he and Moises Henriques (52 off 37) shared in a 74-run stand for the second wicket.
Dhawan ultimately departed in the 11th over, picking out long-on off Stuart Binny’s bowling, but Yuvraj took on the big-hitting mantle.
He cracked 14 runs from the first three balls of Choudhary’s 13th over, before earning a reprieve when dropped on 27 at deep square-leg later in the same over.
Yuvraj joined Henriques in reaching fifty – coming in 23 balls, his fastest IPL effort – and while he added a seventh four and third six for his innings off successive balls in Mills’ final over, his stumps were then splattered off the very next delivery.
Cutting came in and cracked two sixes in the final over though to lift Sunrisers’ score above 200, and the total ultimately proved too great for RCB to chase down.
Openers Chris Gayle (32 off 21) and Mandeep Singh (24 off 16) got them off to a good enough start with a 52-run partnership for the first wicket.
Their stand was ended when Rashid struck with just his third ball in the IPL, bowling Mandeep with a quicker one, and then Gayle holed out at long-off an over later to Deepak Hooda.
Head and Jadhav again rebuilt for RCB but when they departed within an over of each other, so did the visitors’ hopes of forcing a victory, with Watson’s 22 off 17 the only other innings of note.