The IPL returned yesterday as the Sunrisers Hyderabad took on the Royal Challengers Bangalore in an exciting clash in Hyderabad. The Sunrisers lost the toss and were put into bat, but that clearly did not phase them. The men in orange hit 207 in the first innings, which was always going to be tough to chase down. At various points the Royal Challengers Bangalore threatened to chase it down, but they eventually capitulated and fell 35 runs short. This article looks at five crucial moments from the game.
Yuvraj’s Return to Form
Prior to this match, Yuvraj Singh was averaging around 8 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. However, the left-hander produced a vintage innings as he smashed 62 off just 27 balls. He looked back to his best, which Kevin Pietersen described as a “great thing for Indian cricket” as he aims to earn a spot in India’s Champions Trophy side. In this knock he hit three maximums as well as seven fours, notably taking 17 runs off one over. A particular highlight was his six in the 19th over off Tymal Mills. He picked the slower ball, a skill which not many other batsmen have been capable of when facing Mills, and hooked it several rows back. This knock was enough to earn him the title of man of the match and is an ominous sign to all the bowlers in this competition.
Mills’ Death Bowling
England fast bowler Tymal Mills made his IPL debut today, as he opened the bowling for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. He looked solid at the start of the innings, conceding just 12 runs from his first two overs. Mills managed to keep Warner and Dhawan quiet, hitting some impressive speeds. However, his death bowling was the highlight. While Mills did get hit by Yuvraj for a four and a six, Tymal Mills dismissed him the following delivery. Mills set Yuvraj up well, bowling one quicker ball followed by a drastically slower ball. Yuvraj managed to pick the first two, but it was apparent that he was not sure what the third delivery would be. Mills bowled his stock delivery and knocked him over, as Yuvraj was concerned with picking the next variation. His death bowling was by no means excellent, but this is a great sign of what we can expect from him in the rest of the tournament.
Gayle Boom and Bust
Heading into the opening match there was a lot of talk about the recent form of West Indian Christ Gayle. The opening batsman has a crucial role to play in the Royal Challengers Bangalore side, now exaggerated with the absences of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. Yet, it was a frustrating innings from Gayle as he hit some huge sixes but could not build on an excellent start. As he usually does, Gayle scored the majority of his runs in boundaries, smashing three huge sixes and two fours. However, out of his 21-ball innings, Gayle faced 11 dots, showing that he was unable to rotate the strike well for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. As a result, when Deepak Hooda came on to bowl, Gayle saw it as a good opportunity to attack. He hit Hooda’s second ball for a massive six, but only managed to hole out to David Warner on the boundary on the following delivery. At this point Gayle was well set on 32 and could have produced a match-winning innings. It was not to be though, as he departed epitomising the very hit and miss style to his play.
Rashid Khan’s Debut
This game will go down in history as the first IPL match to feature a player from Afghanistan. 18-year-old leg spinner Rashid Khan was handed his debut and he did not disappoint. In his first over he picked up the wicket of opener Mandeep Singh, with a quicker delivery which Mandeep chopped onto his stumps. His next over contained a few loose balls which were ruthlessly punished by Travis Head and Kedar Jadhav. The Afghanistan bowler got his revenge though, as he lured Head into a loose shot which went straight to long-on. It appeared to be the wrong one, which turned in the opposite direction to all of his others. This was a clever piece of bowling and as the tournament progresses, be sure to keep an eye on this exciting talent.
The Direct Hit
The most decisive, game-changing moment of this clash came in the form of an outrageous direct hit from Ben Cutting. Eleven overs in, the Royal Challengers Bangalore were in a strong position, sitting nicely at 116-2. However, Ben Cutting produced an incredible throw from fine leg to run out the threatening Kedar Jadhav. He picked up the ball near the boundary and threw it in instantly towards the keeper’s end, hitting the top off the stumps after one bounce. Keeper Naman Ojha simply had to watch the bails light up and Jadhav was significantly short of his ground. This turned the entire momentum in the game, with the Sunrisers Hyderabad going on to take seven wickets in eight overs.