Bangalore stars with a bang

The Royal Challengers Bangalore welcomed a triumphant start to their 2012 Indian Premier League campaign thanks to a comfortable 20-run victory over the Delhi Daredevils at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium yesterday.

Muttiah Muralitharan

Bangalore’s choice to bat first after winning the toss bore early fruit thanks to Andrew McDonald’s brisk cameo at the top of the knock.

The Australian all-rounder weighed in with 30 runs from just 19 balls and, with Cheteshwar Pujara along for the ride, brought 37 runs inside the first four overs of the fixture.

While the single-figure contributions of Virat Kohli and Saurabh Tiwary were not what home fans were baying for, AB de Villiers made up for the void left by his Indian team-mates.

The South African limited-overs captain raced to 64 from 42 balls, orchestrating some cheeky switch-hits in the process, and later landing the Man of the Match award for his vigil.

Shepherding Vinay Kumar (18) Mayank Agarwal (16) throughout, the Proteas wicketkeeper-batsman displayed the type of responsibility Bangalore will want from him across the remainder of the tournament.

Doug Bracewell, brought into the Delhi XI ahead of spinner Roelof van der Merwe, proved the pick of the bowlers. The New Zealand fast bowler, on IPL debut, bagged figures of three for 32 as well as a very sharp catch in the deep to get rid of McDonald.

Delhi’s reply was largely stop-start, an ultimately inadequate. Up to the task in their rain-affected win over Kolkata earlier in the week, they floundered this time around.

Virender Sehwag’s fall for a first-ball duck was a telling blow and Muttiah Muralitharan’s haul all but sealed the deal for his side. Test cricket’s leading wicket-taker, now retired, showed the characteristic guile and wizardry that carried him through 800 victims to removed Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell and Glenn Maxwell in relatively quick succession on debut for his new franchise.

There was no recovery from Delhi, despite Irfan Pathan’s finest attempt to find big, quick runs toward the end of the contest. 137 for seven at the turn of the 20th over didn’t prove nearly enough.

The result left the Daredevils languishing at fifth in the nine-team standings, while the Royal Challengers entered the fray at third. (Skysports)

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