Royal Challengers Bangalore are one side that have constantly breached the 200-mark in the IPL over the years. It is solid proof of their batting strength, and the same came to the fore against Sunrisers Hyderabad, in the opening match for the two sides at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. RCB went into the game as favourites, and performed as one, as their batting muscle completely outdid the Hyderabad bowlers. Hyderabad were expected to struggle with the ball due to lack of genuine match-winners, and this theory again came true as their bowlers were no match for the talented Bangalore batsmen.
Having lost the toss, and being sent into bat, Bangalore lost the dangerous Chris Gayle early. But, skipper Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers put up what can be termed as the match-defining partnership. With Gayle gone, Hyderabad's hopes of putting Bangalore under pressure would have been raised. But, de Villiers and Kohli did not allow that to happen constantly finding the big hits. They rarely looked in any sort of trouble against a weak Hyderabad bowling attack. The fact that Ashish Nehra had to walk out injured added to Hyderabad woes as they could not exercise any sort of control on the opposition batting. Nehra has been ruled out for the next few games, which is further bad news for the team.
In the preview to the clash, it was mentioned that if the likes of de Villiers and Kohli fired together, it could become rather difficult to stop them. And, Hyderabad's worst nightmare came true against Bangalore, even after Gayle fell early. Kohli struck at a strike rate of 147 while de Villiers was close to 200. While Kohli hit seven fours and three sixes, de Villiers blasted the same number of fours and double the amount of sixes. It told the story of their dominance. But, while Kohli and de Villiers were brilliant, an equally significant effort, although a cameo, came from Sarfaraz Khan, who blasted 35 from merely 10 balls. The innings was the knockout punch that Hyderabad's bowlers did not need after the thrashing received at the hands of Kohli and de Villiers.
The massive score put up by Bangalore once again exposed Hyderabad's bowling weakness. As mentioned above Nehra's loss to injury was a big setback. But, if you take away the performance of Mustafizur Rahman, who finished with impressive figures of 2 for 26, and was even on a hat-trick once, the rest struggled. The likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Moises Henriques and Karn Sharma failed to make any kind of impact on the Bangalore batsmen.
It was the same old story with the bat as well. Skipper David Warner waged a lone battle, and the support from the rest never came. Shikhar Dhawan was expected to step up, but he failed again. The middle order also stumbled under pressure, and although Eoin Morgan got quick runs, he came too low in the order. From what was on show in the match of Tuesday, Hyderabad did repeated the mistakes of last season, and need to learn quickly.
-- By A Cricket Analyst