De Villiers, Murali overcome Delhi
Royal Challengers Bangalore 157 for 8 (de Villiers 64*, Bracewell 3-32) beat Delhi Daredevils 137 for 7 (Murali 3-25) by 20 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Royal Challengers Bangalore were without their talisman Chris Gayle, who had an injured groin, but four other overseas players performed roles expected of them to give the campaign a successful start in front of a packed Chinnaswamy Stadium. AB de Villiers prevented Royal Challengers from finishing on a below-par score with a well paced half-century that contained a mix of the orthodox and the unconventional, while Muttiah Muralitharan, in his first game in these colours, confounded Delhi Daredevils' batsmen during an incisive, economical and match-turning spell.
Delhi Daredevils' major Indian stars also failed, with Irfan Pathan leaking 47 runs in a wicketless spell and Virender Sehwag making a duck in the chase. The visitors were competitive due to Doug Bracewell's performance with the ball and in the field, Morne Morkel's pace and bounce, and a cameo from Naman Ojha. That collective effort, however, was no match for the wealth of talent and experience of Royal Challengers' overseas performers.
De Villiers began his innings with Royal Challengers on 46 for 2 in six overs, and watched that platform erode because of regular wickets at the other end. That start had been given by Andrew McDonald, who targeted Irfan and the straight boundary to take 19 runs off the third over. McDonald's flurry ended when Bracewell sprinted back and to his right from mid-on, watching the ball over his head, and lunged full length to hold stupendous catch with one hand.
De Villiers scored at a run a ball for his first 22 deliveries, losing three partners on the way, and then launched Bracewell over extra cover to bring up the team's 100 in the 14th over. And then he began to turn it on, mixing deft glances and sweeps to the fine-leg boundary with audacious reverse-hits to third man. He hit Irfan for two such boundaries, getting into position early and reverse-swatting full tosses, one over the rope and the other short of it. De Villiers crashed another straight drive past the bowler, Bracewell, in the final over but could not get on strike for the final three deliveries, and so Royal Challengers could not get past 160. Bracewell finished the innings clinically for Daredevils, taking wickets with the final two balls to end on 3 for 32.
It was a heartening performance from Daredevils, considering they had lost Umesh Yadav to an injury after he bowled two overs for eight runs.
The start of Daredevils' chase was promising as well, with Aaron Finch threading the first three balls from Zaheer Khan to the boundary between point and cover. Sehwag, however, slapped his first ball to cover point and was caught. McDonald was economical at first change for Royal Challengers but Finch and Ojha steadied the chase, reaching 46 for 1 after six overs.
It was at this point that Daniel Vettori and Murali began to bowl in tandem, and peg Daredevils back. Finch was dropped at short third man in Vettori's first over, and Ojha by wicketkeeper de Villiers off Murali's first ball. Two balls later, however, Murali had Ojha edging to slip. And in his next over, he had Finch lbw, reducing Daredevils to 68 for 3 after ten overs. Vettori and Murali were so effective that, after scoring 12 runs off his first three balls, Finch was dismissed for 24 off 25.
The pressure created by Murali's first spell of 3-0-11-3 was so much that Daredevils struggled to rediscover their momentum. Irfan struck a few big blows towards the end to spoil some bowling analyses but it had been Royal Challengers' game since the 13th over of the chase, when the asking-rate inched over 10 while the spinners were being parsimonious.
George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo