The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) kicked off with a dramatic win for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Friday. Locking horns against five times and defending champions Mumbai Indians at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai, RCB chased down 160 and won the opening game of IPL 2021. MI, thus, continue to remain winless in the opening games of an IPL season since 2013.
RCB clinch last-over thriller
Chasing 160, Virat Kohli’s decision to open beside Washington Sundar was baffling. Sundar didn’t last long as Krunal Pandya sent him packing in the 5th over. Debutant Rajat Patidar too returned early for a mere 8 runs. It was Kohli and Maxwell who steadied things for RCB.
A 52-run stand between the pair lifted RCB to a commendable position. However, Jasprit Bumrah who played his first white ball game since November 2020, gave MI the breakthrough. Kohli returned on 33. In came Mr 360-degree, AB de Villiers.
Maxwell, who looked in form, was hitting the ball well. But he too perished under perished as he returned for 38. RCB suddenly were in the backfoot as they lost quick wickets. While wickets kept tumbling, de Villiers stayed firm as he hit Trent Boult and Rahul Chahar in consecutive overs.
The match had more twists left as de Villiers departed after a stormy knock of 48. With the game going right down to the wire, RCB picked up the win on the very last ball of the game. They won the game by 2 wickets.
A quiet start for MI
Earlier, Rohit Sharma was sent to bat first by Kohli. Mumbai’s start was slow, but Rohit struck the bad balls pretty well. An unfortunate run-out saw Rohit return on 19. Lynn, who seemed to be in form, carried on punishing the bad balls. Besides Surya Kumar and Ishan Kishan, Lynn almost made his first fifty for MI.
Surya and Ishan’s stay were short but they exhibited quite flamboyant cricket. With Lynn perishing, RCB clawed back into the innings, as they restricted MI to 159. Among a flurry of drop-catches, the fielders eventually helped when it mattered.
Harshal Patel was adjudged as the Man of the Match for his fabulous figure of 5/27. He became only the third RCB bowler to take a five-fer in the tournament, and the first-ever versus MI in the IPL history (5 for 26). This was the first time RCB have won a season opener they have been involved in. They lost in 2008, 2017, and 2019.