Sunrisers Hyderabad continued to dominate Royal Challengers Bangalore    AFP
Sunrisers Hyderabad continued to dominate Royal Challengers Bangalore AFP

A target of 208 without Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and KL Rahul proved to be too much for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) began their title defence with a 35 run victory against a depleted opposition on Wednesday. After being put in to bat, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) propelled themselves to 207 for 4, bolstered by a 27-ball 62 from Yuvraj Singh and 52 from Moises Henriques. In response, RCB started off on an aggressive note, but their zeal frittered out gradually against a mountainous target at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal, Hyderabad. RCB could only manage 172. They could not even bat their full quota of 20 overs. This, despite their top five batsmen going past 20. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2017

The opening pair of Mandeep Singh (24) and Chris Gayle (32) added 52. After they were dismissed in quick succession, Travis Head (30) joined forces with Kedar Jadhav (31) to add another rapid 56 runs. However, RCB did not have enough firepower in their ranks to keep pushing for an aggressive scoring rate. In the end they hobbled to a defeat in the first match with their lower order not pulling in the weight. Shane Watson looked impressive, but the lower-order could not support him. FULL CRICKET UPDATES: SRH vs RCB, IPL 2017 Match 1

RCB stuttered after making a brisk start. Both Mandeep and Gayle showed promise but could not carry on. Mandeep began the reply by taking on Ashish Nehra, slamming two boundaries in the first over. He continued to pick runs against the left-armer in the next over as well, and Gayle joined in soon with a massive six over deep mid-wicket.

Gayle hit another six, this time off Bhuvneshwar Kumar. After facing five dot balls on the trot against Ben Cutting, Gayle made room to crack a four. But he perished in the next over when he tried hitting Deepak Hooda over long-off after Warner summoned his off-spinner against the left-handed pair of Gayle and Travis Head.

Before that, Rashid Khan had celebrated his IPL debut with the wicket of Mandeep, cramping the batsman for room after a few wide deliveries. Rashid s breakthrough was followed by the wicket of Gayle’s, which pegged back RCB who needed more than 10 an over consistently.

Head joined forces with Jadhav to take RCB ahead, and they did a fine job at that. They added 56 runs in a little over 5 overs to bring RCB back on the track. They got their boundaries, and Jadhav outgunned his partner in getting those quick runs. When Ben Cutting looked like slipping away with tight overs, Jadhav hammered him over mid-wicket for six and followed it up with two fours off Nehra, who continued to be expensive.

The third-wicket stand between Jadhav and Head was broken when Cutting pulled off a brilliant, near-flat direct hit from deep fine-leg. Jadhav fell short by a significant distance. Jadhav had started to look ominous. The wicket proved to be the turning point.

Head looked to score quick runs but became the second victim of Rashid, caught by Yuvraj at long-on. RCB could not get any impetus from there, Watson finally falling for a 17-ball 22. Rashid finished with 2 for 36, being the second-best SRH bowler after Bhuvneshwar Kumar who claimed 2 for 27.

For Sunrisers, Nehra started off on a poor note being hit for a lot of runs, but he recovered to take two late wickets and was even on a hat-trick. He was a tad expensive, but he did well to complete his 100 wickets in the tournament.

Earlier in the game, SRH posted their second consecutive total in excess of 200 against Bangalore. Yuvraj registered his fastest IPL half-century, hitting 4 sixes and 2 fours to score 62 off a mere 27 balls. Henriques got a fluent 52. Both men chipped later on with two catches each.

Henriques was also involved in a rapid 74-run stand for the second wicket with Shikhar Dhawan, who missed out on a deserving fifty as he was dismissed for a 31-ball 40.

SRH will now begin preparations to face a dangerous Gujarat Lions (GL) on April 9 at the same venue, whereas RCB will look to pick themselves up for their next clash against Delhi Daredevils (DD) on April 8 in Bengaluru.

Brief scores:

Sunrisers Hyderabad 207 for 4 in 20 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 40, Moises Henriques 52, Yuvraj Singh 67; Yuzvendra Chahal 1 for 22) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 172 in 19.4 overs (Chris Gayle 32, Travis Head 30, Kedar Jadhav 31; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2 for 27, Rashid Khan 2 for 36) by 35 runs.

Player of the Match: Yuvraj Singh.