Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore recorded comfortable away victories to open their respective campaigns in the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Saturday.
South African AB de Villiers hit five sixes in a 40-ball unbeaten 54 toward the end to help the Bangalore side overcome a challenging target of 162 with six wickets and eight balls to spare against IPL debutants Kochi Tuskers Kerala.
The team from Kochi, led by Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene, got off to a blistering start with a 80-run opening stand between Brendon McCullum (45) and Vangipurappu Laxman (36) from just nine overs but the middle order lost their way after that.Royal Challengers, led by Daniel Vettori, got off to a poor start, losing flamboyant opener Tillakaratne Dilshan for just one but they recovered through decent contributions from the other batsmen before de Villiers launched his onslaught.
Playing away from home in Saturday’s first match, the Rajasthan Royals, led brilliantly by 41-year-old Australian Shane Warne, restricted their opponents Deccan Chargers to a paltry 137-8.
Pacemen Siddharth Trivedi (3-15) and Amit Singh (3-35) shared six wickets among themselves to vindicate their captain’s decision to field first after winning the toss.
Warne, the second highest wicket-taker in Tests, still managed to weave magic with his leg spin and picked up two wickets for 21 in his four overs.
South African spinner Johan Botha, promoted to number three, knocked off the required runs with a 47-ball 67 and brought his team an eight-wicket win with seven balls to spare.