Murali, de Villiers guide RCB to an easy win over Delhi

Feroz Khan

Bangalore: Their total wasn’t a competitive one but inspired performances from their bowlers led by marquee spinner Muttiah Muralitharan got Royal Challengers Bangalore campaign kick off on a winning note against Delhi Daredevils on Saturday.

Called into bat by Virender Sehwag, Daniel Vettori’s side posted a par score of 157 runs at Chinnaswamy stadium replying to which Delhi fell short by 20 runs.

Bangalore’s innings was given a substance by their South African recruit AB de Villiers who struck a brilliant half-century to guide them to a respectable total after half their side had surrendered with 85 runs on the scoreboard.

Andrew McDonald opened the innings for them and did what he was supposed to –hitting right from the word go. After getting a chance when he was dropped in just the second over of the innings off Doug Bracewell, McDonald spared no time and dismissed the next delivery past cover point for a six.

McDonald scored 30 runs with the help of four boundaries and two sixes before top edging Morne Morkel to be caught brilliantly by Bracewell.

However, others failed to make any impact as they were removed in quick succession by the Delhi bowlers. AB de Villiers though stuck and then charged at the end to complete his half-century with an exotic reverse sweep that disappeared into the crowds. He scored 64* and struck six boundaries and two sixes guiding his team out of trouble.

It was an interesting debut for Bracewell who besides taking three wickets also effected a run out and took an excellent one handed catch. He first removed Virat Kohli and then took wickets of his last two deliveries to end with a figure of 4-0-32-3. Others chipped in with some tight bowling barring Irfan Pathan who went for 47 runs in his four overs.

Delhi’s chase began on a positive note as Aaron Finch dispatched Zaheer Khan’s first three deliveries for consecutive boundaries. However, they lost Virender Sehwag for a first ball duck.

They were cruising along well till they lost Naman Ojha (33) and the batsmen failed to keep up with the soaring required run rate.

The introduction of Murali and Vettori slowed down the pace of scoring runs and the regular wickets kept them on backfoot. Murali, in particular was the chief destroyer claiming three wickets. Before he was taken to cleaners by Irfan Pathan, his three overs had just conceded 13 runs.

At the end Irfan Pathan (24) provided some hope with his breezy knock but he too perished after being caught short of the crease and Delhi lost the match by 20 runs.