RCB crash Kochi party

De Villiers, Agarwal star for Bangalore outfit in six-wicket victory

RCB crash Kochi party

In full cry: Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Mayank Agarwal smacks one over the fence during his fiery knock of 33 against Indian Premier League debutants Kochi Tuskers Kerala at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Kochi on Saturday. AFPThey didn’t get to see a much-desired home team victory, but the Kochi fans wholeheartedly welcomed the first Indian Premier League match on their soil, and as sportingly as ever they applauded the effort of Royal Challengers Bangalore, who emerged winners by six wickets.

Batting by choice, Kochi made a competitive 161 for five in 20 overs and Bangalore scaled down the target during a well-measured chase.

RCB’s chase did not get off to a bright start, losing Tillakaratne Dilshan early to S Sreesanth, who dished out a magnificent first over to thrill his home crowd. Rudra Pratap Singh, too, produced a sharp first spell but more importantly, the Uttar Pradesh left-arm pacer showed signs of getting back that lethal swing into the right-hander from over the wicket.

Pacer Vinay Kumar dismissed Virat Kohli, who was in impeccable touch throughout his stay and Kohli’s dismissal applied breaks on Bangalore’s scoring. But the moment of Bangalore’s innings was provided by the young Mayank Agarwal, who impressed all with a belligerent knock.

Mayank had to face the first ball from Muttiah Muralitharan and he swept that for six over mid-wicket for a maximum. How many youngsters can even think of taking on the legend, owner of more than 1000 international wickets? Mayank, however, didn’t last till the job was done.

That was left to AB de Villiers, who made a well-timed fifty and turned the match in RCB’s favour smashing three sixes off Raiphi Vincent Gomez, who bowled the 18th over.

However, the match began on a positive note for Tuskers. Openers Brendon McCullum and VVS Laxman tore Bangalore’s attack to shreds during their 80-run alliance. It was like Michael Jackson and Mozart performing on the same stage -- a wonderful fusion of entertainment and elegance.

An initial glance will not reveal the effectiveness of Laxman’s game in the Twenty20 format, but his sublime ability to find gaps at will and the acute angles he can create with a twirl of his wrists enable him to score almost as quick as some big hitters, like he did on the day while matching the scoring rate of McCullum.

But there were occasions when Laxman didn’t hesitate to tread more pedestrian ways, slog-sweeping Dilshan for a six or a well-timed shot that sent Abhimanyu Mithun’s delivery near the sightscreen. At the other end, McCullum was at his brutal best, carting the bowlers mercilessly around the park.

However, calamity struck when the partnership seemed to be chugging along smoothly. Laxman went for the slog-sweep that fetched him a few runs in the evening but this time he found Pujara at deep midwicket, gifting Dilshan a wicket.

McCullum, too, didn’t last long as Daniel Vettori’s decision to introduce Kohli fetched handsome dividends. Kohli jettisoned the Kiwi in his very first over, an attempt to scoop over wicketkeeper’s head ended in the hands of Dirk Nannes at short third man.

Two back-to-back dismissals shackled Kochi’s scoring as skipper Mahela Jayawardene, who joined his team-mates on the match morning, and Brad Hodge struggled to find boundaries. Jayawardene and Hodge found the going tough against Vettori’s left-arm spin in particular, milking just 31 runs in 4.4 overs as Kochi limped to 124 for two in 15 overs.

It required a few well-placed blows from Jadeja to take the score past the 160-run mark but RCB on the day carried far too many guns for the debutants.

SCORE BOARD

KOCHI TUSKERS KERALA:
McCullum c Nannes b Kohli 45 (32b, 4x4, 2x6); Laxman c Pujara b Dilshan 36 (29b, 2x4, 2x6); Jayawardene st De Villiers b Vettori 18 (18b, 2x4); Hodge b Zaheer 27 (21b, 3x4); Jadeja (not out) 23 (16b, 2x4, 1x6); Gomez c Tiwary b Nannes 0 (1b); Parthiv (not out) 1 (4b); Extras (B-1, LB-2, W-7, NB-1) 11; Total (for 5 wkts, 20 overs) 161
Fall of wickets: 1-80 (Laxman), 2-93 (McCullum), 3-124 (Jayawardene), 4-147 (Hodge), 5-151 (Gomez).
Bowling: Zaheer 4-0-28-0, Nannes 3-0-31-1 (w-4), Vettori 4-0-17-1, Dilshan 4-0-30-1, Mithun 1-0-19-0 (nb-1), Kohli 2-0-14-1, Asad Pathan 2-0-19-0 (w-3).
Scoring Pattern: 5 overs: 42/0, 10: 82/1, 15: 124/2, 20: 161/5.
Runs during Power Play: 1-6: 61/0.

ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE:
Mayank c Vinay b Jadeja 33 (24b, 2x4, 2x6); Dilshan c McCullum b Sreesanth 1 (4b); Kohli lbw Vinay 23 (18b, 4x4); AB de Villiers (not out) 54 (40b, 1x4, 5x6); Saurabh c Jayawardene b Gomez 26 (25b, 2x4); Asad Pathan (not out) 12 (4b, 3x4); Extras (LB-4, W-7, NB-2) 13; Total (for 4 wkts, 18.4 overs) 162
Fall of wickets: 1-7 (Dilshan), 2-48 (Kohli), 3-85 (Mayank), 4-137 (Saurabh).
Bowling: RP Singh 3-0-29-0 (w-4), Sreesanth 3-0-28-1 (nb-2, w-1), Jadeja 4-0-28-1 (w-1), Vinay 3.4-0-26-1 (w-1), Muralitharan 4-0-27-0, Gomez 1-0-20-1.
Scoring Pattern: 5 overs: 44/1, 10: 85/3, 15: 118/3, End of Innings: 162/4 in 18.4 overs
Runs during Power Play: 1-6: 48/2.

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