After being put into bat by SRH skipper David Warner, RCB lost Chris Gayle to Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the second over and celebrated the fall of the huge wicket with fervor. But it took them another 14.2 overs before a wicket celebration would come by as AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli put on 157 runs off 87 balls – the sixth highest second-wicket stand in the IPL. The partnership featured 14 fours and nine sixes which put the Bangalore crowd on their toes. Interestingly, the Kohli-de Villiers pair also tops the chart for the second-wicket partnership in the IPL, with their unbeaten 215-run stand against Mumbai Indians last year.
RCB had a watchful start, reaching 61/1 in 8 overs with IPL debutant Mustafizur Rahman impressing early on by giving away just 10 runs in his first two overs, but his team-mates went for runs left, right and center. Bhuvneshwar and Karn Sharma leaked 113 runs in their quota of eight overs. Mustafizur got the prized wicket of de Villiers, who had already done the damage by then, in his second spell. Off the next ball the Bangladeshi seamer had Shane Watson’s wicket. Mustafizur bowled a good 20th over in the context of the game and gave away 13 runs to finish his four overs for just 26 runs. “Mustafizur showed his qualities at the World T20, he’s a great asset to have,” his captain Warner had said after winning the toss.
Warner would have breathed a sigh of relief to see the back of all the big names, but his team still had to endure a certain Sarfaraz Khan, who played a fine cameo at the end to take RCB past the 200-run mark. The 18-year-old crunched a full toss towards the cover boundary, scooped one over short fine leg, then opened the face of the bat for a six over third man before finishing with two well-timed boundaries. His 10-ball 35 not out off brought out an array of audacious shots that earned him five fours and two sixes. Sarfaraz targeted Bhuvneshwar in the 18th over, hitting the seamer for four boundaries and a six off the five balls he faced.
Warner came out with Shikhar Dhawan to chase a mammoth 228-run target but it was too much for him to handle. Warner got off to a flier but he didn’t find any support at all. The beefy Australian scored a 25-ball 58 that included four boundaries and six massive hits over the ropes. Warner had an opening partnership of 34 with Dhawan and then added 51 for the second wicket with Moises Henriques but eventually fell to Watson who banged in a cross-seamer and Warner mistimed the pull to hand Adam Milne an easy catch at deep square leg.
Watson, the costliest buy (Rs 9.5 crore) at the IPL auction, got right into action in his first match for RCB as he clobbered Karn Sharma for three consecutive sixes in his eight-ball 19. Then, with the ball in hand, he scalped the prized wicket of Warner and later on added Ashish Reddy to finish with figures of 2/30, the most economical for RCB. “Watson is a wonderful addition to our side,” Kohli had said at the toss prior to the start of the match and the allrounder justified his price tag with his fine performance.