Photo Credit: Royal Challengers
Royal Challengers Bangalore had reached the finals of the 2011 edition but had faltered at the final hurdle. As always, the Chinnaswamy was jam-packed for the first game of the 2012 edition.
The opening day of a new season comes with renewed hopes and expectations. RCB were up against the Delhi Daredevils.
However, the capacity crowd were left disappointed even before a ball was bowled, as the Caribbean entertainer, Chris Gayle had to miss out owing to an injury. Andrew McDonald, the Australian all-rounder had taken his place. McDonald, opening with Cheteshwar Pujara got the team off to a brisk start; 19 runs were scored off the third over bowled by Irfan Pathan giving the innings the thrust it needed. Delhi Daredevils clawed themselves back into the game with some impressive pace bowling by Doug Bracewell and More Morkel. The duo combined to dismiss the dangerous-looking McDonald for 30, with the Kiwi Bracewell taking a stunner running backward.
RCB lost their way through the middle overs as wickets kept falling even as de Villiers was holding up one end. There were no substantial partnerships to drive the innings as it threatened to whimper away. At 103/6 with 40 balls still left in the innings, there was even a possibility of RCB being bowled out. But, one can never discount the team as long as AB de Villiers is at the crease. The Protean maestro lived up to his Mr.360 tag, as he mixed orthodox cricket shots with innovation and power with deftness. He remained unbeaten on 64 off 42 balls. Vinay Kumar provided him with ample support, as RCB mustered a decent score of 157 in their 20 overs; a total they would have taken with 40 balls to go.
AB De Villiers Was Named The MOTM For His 42-Ball 64
The Delhi Daredevils innings started off in an action-packed manner. The first three balls of the innings bowled by Zaheer Khan were dispatched to the fence by Aaron Finch. Zaheer got his own back, however, as a cut shot by Sehwag facing his first delivery, only found Pujara at point. The second-wicket partnership for the Daredevils looked like it could take the game away as Finch and Naman Ojha looked to build a solid base.
If it were the two overseas fast bowlers for the Daredevils who managed to turn things around, it was the overseas spin duo that brought RCB back into the game. Muralitharan and Vettori spun a web around the Daredevils batsmen, Finch in particular, who could not get them away. Naman Ojha was the first to be dismissed, thanks to a fine catch at slip by Virat Kohli. Finch soon followed as he was caught plumb in front trying to flick the ball away. Murali added to Daredevils’ misery by dismissing Glen Maxwell who top-edged a sweep to short fine-leg. Even though Murali’s final over went for 14 runs, RCB were already well ahead of the game. Irfan Pathan’s big-hitting towards the end mattered little, as RCB coasted home by 20 runs to kickstart their campaign for 2012 on a positive note.
AB De Villiers was named the Man-of-the-Match for his 42-ball 64. However, one cannot understate the role of RCB spinners Daniel Vettori and Muttiah Muralitharan who delivered under pressure, defending a lowish target at the Chinnaswamy in front of a packed and expectant home crowd.