The Sunrisers Hyderabad started their title defence at their own den in superb fashion as they emerged victorious against last season’s runners-up Royal Challengers Bangalore by 35 runs in a high scoring encounter.
Winning the toss, RCB stand-in skipper Shane Watson chose to field first; much to the liking of Warner who wanted to bat first anyway. Although SRH lost their skipper early, the rest of the batting line-up played superbly and got them to a high total of 207/4.
RCB began their chase very well as Chris Gayle and Mandeep Singh got them off to a flying start. However, the SRH bowlers kept striking at regular intervals, ultimately bowling them out for 172.
Take a look at how the players fared in the IPL opener.
Yuvraj Singh – 9
It was vintage Yuvraj on show today as he played a superb knock of 62 runs in just 27 deliveries. With this innings – star-studded with seven fours and three humongous sixes – he showed that he has found his groove and is full of confidence again.
Although he was dropped three times en route to his 62, it was the sheer pressure caused by his confident stroke play and intimidating character that made the fielders commit mistakes.
Moises Henriques – 9
Henriques carried his good Big Bash League 2016/17 form into this edition of the IPL as he made his way to a well compiled half century off just 37 balls. He walked out to bat at a time when SRH had lost their skipper David Warner as early as in the second over.
At that time, the Sunrisers needed someone who could up the ante like Warner and also ensure that they didn’t lose any more wickets. And Henriques played that role very well.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar – 9
Bhuvneshwar Kumar showed once again why he is one of the best bowlers in the country as he returned match figures of 4-0-27-2. He kept things tight at the start and then unleashed his wide yorkers and slower balls at the death to account for the wickets.
Shikhar Dhawan – 8
Dhawan's role since last year has been to play second fiddle to his opening partner Warner. However, today he ensured that the pressure didn’t pile on Henriques after the early dismissal of Warner.
He maintained a steady run flow and formed a crucial partnership of 74 runs for the second wicket with Henriques. He was unlucky to miss out on a fifty as Sachin Baby took a good catch near the ropes to bring an end to a well compiled 40 off 31.
Rashid Khan – 8
The teenage Afghan sensation had a fabulous start to his IPL career as he claimed 2-36 in his four overs. He dismissed two set batsmen in Mandeep and Head and never allowed RCB to gain any momentum.
Deepak Hooda – 7
Hooda has been a valuable addition to SRH, scoring crucial runs and chipping in with crucial wickets from time to time. It was not different today as he chipped in with a valuable 16*(12) with the bat at the closing stages and then accounted for the valuable wicket of Chris Gayle in his only over, giving away just 7 runs.
Ben Cutting – 6
Cutting may well have been rated more than 6, however, his expensive bowling figures of 35 runs in 3.4 overs took a bit of credit away from him. However, his contribution of 16*(6) with the bat and the superb run out can't be discounted.
Ashish Nehra – 6
The ageless bowler went for 30 odd runs in his first three overs. But as classy bowlers always do, he struck back with two wickets in his last over at the death to clean up RCB's tail.
David Warner – 6
Warner couldn't fire with the bat today as he was dismissed for 14(8). But he was in the constant mix of things as he claimed crucial catches at critical junctures.
Bipul Sharma – 6
He didn't get an opportunity to do much today but took a wicket and gave away just one run in his solitary over.
Naman Ojha – 3
Ojha didn't get to bat today and missed a sitter to cap it off. Hence, his poor rating is justified.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Yuzvendra Chahal – 8
Chahal has been RCB's go-to man with the ball for the past couple of years and has troubled even the best of batsmen with his leg-spin. And today was no different as he appeared to be the only reliable bowler for Watson’s side in that carnage.
He returned figures of 4-0-22-1 and claimed the crucial wicket of Henriques. He may have accounted for Yuvraj's wicket as well if there had been a fitter fielder in place of Shane Watson.
Chris Gayle – 7
Gayle set RCB's innings on the right course as he played a quickfire knock of 32(21) at the top of the order. He targeted Ashish Nehra in particular and hit three towering sixes in that short innings. However, it was again his weakness against off spin that accounted for his wicket.
Tymal Mills – 7
Mills showed good control today, especially with his back-of-the-hand slower balls. Although he bowled very well at the death, he lacked penetration at the start of the innings. He claimed the prized wicket of Yuvraj with a superb slower ball in the 19th over and finished with respectable figures of 4-0-31-1 whereas the other bowlers leaked runs at economy rates over 10.
Kedar Jadhav – 7
Jadhav kept the momentum going after Gayle and Mandeep departed in quick succession. He played a good cameo of 31(16) balls and looked set to take RCB all the way on his own. But it was a rocket throw by Ben Cutting from the boundary that dismissed him in the end.
Travis Head – 6
Head played a nice little innings of 30(22) alongside Kedar Jadhav and kept RCB's hopes alive till the halfway stage. He looked quite confident in his stroke play and was ultimately dismissed by Rashid Khan.
Mandeep Singh – 6
Mandeep began his innings in a very fine manner as he played some classy shots against bowlers like Nehra and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He promised a lot with his stroke play but ultimately fell to the Afghan sensation Rashid Khan for a well made 24(16). However, by then, he had given RCB the start they needed.
Shane Watson – 5
Watson didn't do justice to his talent today as he leaked 41 runs in his 3 overs. Moreover, what he did with the bat was insufficient as well. 22(17) is not something that is needed when chasing a score over 200.
Stuart Binny – 5
Binny took one wicket and later scored a run-a-ball 11 with the bat. Not sufficient in a 200-run chase.
Aniket Chaudhary – 5
Aniket had a mixed debut for RCB as he claimed the scalp of Warner on one hand but leaked 55 runs on the other. He displayed some good pace and bounce at times but was taken apart by Yuvraj Singh in the middle overs.
Sreenath Aravind – 3
Aravind is the most bankable and experienced domestic bowler for RCB. However, his bowling looked totally mediocre today as he leaked 36 runs in his three overs. His wicket to wicket bowling was not good enough to trouble the batsmen on this flat deck and hence RCB paid the price.
Sachin Baby – 3
Baby couldn't prove his mettle with the bat today, being dismissed for a solitary run. However, he did take a decent catch to dismiss Henriques.