Openers help RCB begin campaign with crushing win

Openers help RCB begin campaign with crushing win

Royal Challengers Bangalore began their IPL 2023 campaign in style with a crushing win over Mumbai Indians on Sunday (April 2). Chasing 172, RCB got the job done with ease in the end after their openers Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli set the platform with a massive opening partnership.

RCB ace the powerplay

The fate of the game was pretty much known the moment RCB dominated both the powerplays. With the ball, they removed the MI top order cheaply to leave them reeling at 29/3. Ishan Kishan mistimed one to get caught at the third man boundary and Reece Topley bowled one full and swung it back in to rearrange Cameron Green’s stumps. Mohammad Siraj could have had Rohit Sharma as well but a collision with Dinesh Karthik prevented him taking the wicket. The skipper didn’t last long though as he edged behind in the following over to depart for 1 off 10.

In the run chase, Kohli and du Plessis made merry by taking on Jofra Archer and Jason Behrendorff, who had come in as an impact substitute. While Kohli was severe against Archer, du Plessis smashed Behrendorff for successive sixes as RCB raced to 53 for no loss in the powerplay.

How was MI’s recovery post the powerplay?

A lot hinged on Suryakumar Yadav to lead the recovery post the false start in the powerplay. However, he was dismissed in tame fashion as a short and wide delivery from IPL debutant Michael Bracewell fetched him the key wicket. The onus was now on Tilak Verma to drag MI to a respectable total with the five-time champions posting only 55 at the halfway mark. While Tilak kept going at one end, appearing to bat on a completely different surface, Nehal Wadhera took time to settle down. Wadhera finally took on Karn Sharma to hand MI a timely boost but MI still needed a big push to post a substantial total.

Did they get that push?

Absolutely!! They had Tilak to thank, as the youngster, who was easily their standout performer last year in a dismal campaign, took charge once again. Even though Tim David departed cheaply, Tilak wasn’t deterred as he smashed Akash over deep square leg to bring up a fifty before fetching vital boundaries off Siraj and Harshal Patel. Debutant Arshad Khan chipped in with a six as well in the final over before Tilak finished proceedings by clearing the ropes for the fourth time on the night. At one stage, even 150 wasn’t in MI’s sights before that final flourish got them past 170.

Was there a similar comeback with the ball?

Definitely not. Du Plessis took on Green after the powerplay and ensured the youngster leaked 17 in the over before hammering Hrithik Shokeen for successive sixes that also helped him bring up his fifty. Kohli then cleared the ropes to bring up the century stand as RCB continued to cruise. Rohit’s move to bring back Archer in search of a wicket also proved to be futile as the pacer failed to break the stand. Du Plessis continued to make merry and Kohli pulled Archer over square leg as RCB raced to 139 in just 14 overs. The 148-run stand was finally broken by young Arshad which was then followed by Karthik’s departure for a duck. But Kohli and Glenn Maxwell ensured there were no hiccups.

So, what’s next?

RCB will fancy their chances of making it two out of two as they are now slated to face Kolkata Knight Riders next, a side that has far too many holes to plug going by their performance on Saturday. Mumbai Indians are not playing for the next five days but the next time they are on the park, it’s for an epic clash against their nemesis CSK. No better way to stage a comeback than putting one past your rivals in front of your home crowd.

Brief scores: Mumbai Indians 171/7 in 20 overs (Tilak Varma 84*; Karn Sharma 2/32) lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore 172/2 in 16.2 overs (Virat Kohli 82*, Faf du Plessis 73) by 8 wickets

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