x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Bangalore get off to a perfect start against Delhi at Sharjah

Good job Chris Gayle was not playing as well, or we might have run out of cricket balls. Royal Challengers Bangalore’s power-hitters laid down a marker at the first opportunity in IPl 2014 as they cruised past a hapless Delhi Daredevils.

JP Duminy of Delhi Daredevils plays a shot during their IPL match against Royal Challengers Bangalore  at Sharjah Cricket Stadium onApril 17, 2014. Pawan Singh / The National
JP Duminy of Delhi Daredevils plays a shot during their IPL match against Royal Challengers Bangalore at Sharjah Cricket Stadium onApril 17, 2014. Pawan Singh / The National

SHARJAH // The UAE’s oldest cricket venue is just not big enough for Virat Kohli. Or Yuvraj Singh.

Good job Chris Gayle was not playing as well, or we might have run out of cricket balls.

Royal Challengers Bangalore’s power-hitters laid down a marker at the first opportunity in IPL 2014 as they cruised past a hapless Delhi Daredevils with eight wickets, 20 deliveries, and about three more gears to spare.

Given the remorseless fashion in which he dispatched the bowling, it seemed as though Yuvraj, in particular, had a point to prove.

He admitted he is happy to be playing in the UAE, rather than India, after the criticism he suffered at home after the World Twenty20 final defeat in Bangladesh last month.

His home was pelted with stones by angry supporters after his uncharacteristically slow innings contributed to that loss against Sri Lanka.

His 52 from 29 deliveries here, as Bangalore easily chased down the 146 required for victory, went to show he can still play a bit, actually.

“The problem with our country is people forget what people have done for our country in the past,” Yuvraj said.

“It wasn’t good to hear what was going but that is the problem with our country.”

If he was happy to be in Sharjah, the 2.3 million dollar man seemed ecstatic to have joined up with Bangalore – and with Kohli in particular.

The Team India duo made the Delhi attack look like adolescent net bowlers as they shared 84 runs in less than eight overs.

Few people are exempt from Kohli’s blade these days, but it does feel like the Daredevils suffer more than most.

In his five innings against the Delhi franchise before this one, he had made 99, 65, 73 not out, 8 and 56.

He was helped here by two dropped catches in the space of one Wayne Parnell over, Jimmy Neesham the culprit when he was on 23 and Mayank Agarwal when he was on 24.

How Delhi missed their absent captain, Kevin Pietersen, who is still a doubt ahead of tomorrow’s meeting with Mumbai Indians in Dubai because of a finger injury.

Pietersen tweeted on the morning of the game that Delhi’s supporters need not worry about his absence as they had a strong team without him anyway.

On this evidence, though, they could do with him back asap. Even before Yuvraj and Kohli savaged their bowlers, a TV poll made a damning judgement on Delhi’s prospects for this season.

While 46 per cent of respondents had them down for a mid-table finish, 19 per cent suggested they will finished dead last.

“We know that in Sharjah the average score is 142, so we were pretty happy with our total after the start we had,” said JP Duminy, who top-scored for Delhi with 67 from 48 balls.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t defend it. We are all professional enough to know what our jobs are out there and unfortunately our skills weren’t good enough today.”

pradley@thenational.ae

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