Bangalore, Rajasthan make winning IPL starts

Nov 30, -0001

KERALA: AB de Villiers smashed a quickfire 54 as the Royal Challengers Bangalore spoilt the Indian Premier League debut of Kochi Tuskers Kerala with a six-wicket win on Saturday.
Chasing a stiff 162, Bangalore overhauled the target with eight balls to spare in the high-scoring thriller at the Nehru Stadium, with de Villiers' 40-ball unbeaten half-century the pick of the batting.
Bangalore looked in trouble at 137-4 in the 18th over but de Villiers held his nerve and Asad Pathan hit three fours in a row to pull off a fine win for the team, which is owned by multi-millionaire liquor baron Vijay Mallya.
Batting first, Kochi rode on a rollicking 80-run opening stand between Brendon McCullum and Venkatsai Laxman to pile up 161-5 off 20 overs.
McCullum, the first century-maker of the IPL, hammered 45 off 32 balls and Test specialist Laxman carted a 26-ball 39 with two fours and two sixes to underline his worth in the shortest format of the game.
New Zealand left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori was the most impressive among the Bangalore bowlers, giving away just 17 runs while taking one wicket in his four overs.
Kochi, led by Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene, is one of the two debutant teams in the this year's lucrative Twenty20 competition alongside Pune Warriors.
In the other match of the day played in Hyderabad, Johan Botha showed rare skill with the bat to guide Rajasthan Royals to an emphatic eight-wicket victory over a listless Deccan Chargers.
The South African spinner hit eight fours and a six in his unbeaten 67 off 47 balls as Rajasthan overhauled Deccan's 137-8 off 18.5 overs at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
Botha, a surprise promotion to number three in the batting order, shared 52 runs with veteran India batsman Rahul Dravid (28) and another 58 with New Zealand's Ross Taylor (21 not out).
Kochi Tuskers Kerala 161-5 in 20 overs (B. McCullum 45, V. Laxman 36, B. Hodge 27) lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore 162-4 in 18.4 overs (AB de Villiers 54 not out, M. Agarwal 33) by six wickets.
Deccan Chargers 137-8 in 20 overs (D. Ravi Teja 28, D. Christian 26; S. Trivedi 3-15, A. Singh 3-35) lost to Rajasthan Royals 141-2 in 18.5 overs (J. Botha 67 not out, R. Dravid 28) by eight wickets. AGENCIES




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