IPL 2021: Harshal Patel fifer, AB de Villiers knock inspire RCB to opening-day victory

Patel's dream spell saw him take three crucial wickets in the last over of the MI innings, restricting them to 159.

RCB batsman AB de Villiers in a file photo. (Image credit: Twitter/IPL)

One could not have asked for a better opener to the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The Royal Challengers Bangalore, (RCB), inspired by an extraordinary spell by young bowler Harshal Patel, edged the Mumbai Indians in an encounter that went to the final delivery. The youngster took a five-wicket haul which included three crucial ones in the final over of the Mumbai innings. That over might just be the one that slightly inched the game in the Challegers’ favor. It was also the first time in IPL history that anyone had taken a fifer against the Mumbai Indians. 

The defending champions’ loss in the opening game hardly comes as a surprise. Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians have now lost their last nine opening games. Sharma would not be much bothered by the loss today since his side has shown on more than one occasion that they can win the IPL irrespective of the opening-day result. 

The game also saw Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell break his six-drought. The Australian had not hit a single one out of the park for the entirety of last season. 

Harshal Patel was the star of the first innings, taking five wickets. Three of the five came in a chaotic first over that saw four. Patel destroyed any Mumbai hopes of a big last over, taking three wickets in the first two balls. He narrowly missed out on a hatrick as the third delivery of the over whizzed past the stumps. 

The challengers successfully restricted the defending champions to a humble score of 159. The average first innings winning total at the Chepauk is 173. The batting card was not something Mumbai would be proud of, with only Chris Lynn and Suryakumar Yadav getting past the 30-run mark.  

Lynn scored 49 off 35 balls and Yadav scored 31 off 23. Captain Rohit Sharma only scored 19 while the likes of Pollard and the Pandya brothers failed to get past 15. Ishan Kishan played a valuable knock of 28 off 19 balls. 

RCB’s bowling was dominated by the brilliance of Harshal Patel, who took 5 wickets for just 27 runs off his quota. Kyle Jamieson and Washington Sundar got a wicket each apart from Patel.  

The second innings bore a close resemblance to the first, with the RCB batsmen struggling to stick around for long. Veteran cricketer AB de Villiers’ timely 48 off 27 balls ensured that the team just got over the line. Virat Kohli and Glenn Maxwell chipped in with scores of 33 and 39 respectively, but nobody in the rest of the team had any significant contribution. 

AB de Villiers’ positioning in the batting order came as a shock but the South African showed why he is one of the most versatile players of the game with his fabulous knock which effectively decided the game at its closing moments.

Sportslumo Desk

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