Sharjah: Yuvraj Singh struck form with a brilliant unbeaten half-century as Royal Challengers Bangalore crushed Delhi DareDevils by eight wickets in an IPL match here on Thursday.
Yuvraj (52 not out) shared 84 runs off just 7.9 overs with captain Virat Kohli (49 not out) for the unconquered third wicket as RCB chased down the target of 146 with 20 balls to spare at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
Yuvraj, who received criticism from some quarters for his slow batting in India’s loss to Sri Lanka in the recent World T20 in Bangladesh, began tentatively, but came to his own later as he hit three fours and five sixes in his 29-ball unbeaten knock.
Kohli continued with his top form in T20 though he was dropped twice — on 23 and 24. He hit two fours and three sixes in his 38-ball unconquered innings.
The duo competed in hitting fours and sixes towards the end of the run chase after opener Parthiv Patel had done well at the top with a 28-ball 37 which was studded with five fours and a six.
RCB left out Chris Gayle due to a back problem, but made a strong start though they lost IPL debutant Nic Maddinson (4), the young opener from Australia, in the second over.
The other opener Patel and one-down and captain Kohli eased off the pressure of the early jolt with some sensible batting.
Patel perished while trying to play shots, too many than required, with leg-spinner Rahul Sharma cleaning him up as RCB were reduced to 62 for two in the ninth over.
Next-man in, Yuvraj hit some lusty blows to ease off pressure. Kohli was let off on 23 and 24 in the space of five balls in the 13th over. Wayne Parnell was the unfortunate bowler.
Kohli and Yuvraj responded with a six each off Jimmy Neesham and scored 15 runs in the 14th over. The Kohli-Yuvraj duo then decided to end the contest quickly as the duo took 20 runs from 15th over bowled by Rahul Sharma.
Kohli smashed two sixes, while Yuvraj hit a maximum to add to the misery of Rahul who bled 33 runs from his three overs.
Earlier, the DareDevils found themselves in tatters before Jean-Paul Duminy’s brilliant unbeaten half-century took them to a decent 145 for four.
Put into bat, the DareDevils were reduced to 35 for four in the eighth over with their top order batsmen coming a cropper before Duminy (67 not out) and Ross Taylor (43 not out) shared 110-run for the unbroken fifth-wicket.
The duo built the innings by grafting for runs initially before opening up towards the end. Duminy especially slogged at the death overs as he hit a six off Yuvraj and two maximums off Ashok Dinda.
Duminy, the more aggressive of the duo, hit four boundaries and three sixes in his 48-ball knock, while Taylor smashed four boundaries in his 39-ball unconquered innings.
For RCB, Mitchell Starc, Albie Morkel, Varun Aaron and Yuzvendra Chahal took a wicket each.
Kohli opted to bowl after winning the toss and straightaway put the DareDevils in tatters by scalping their top three batsmen in the space of just eight balls between third and fifth overs.
Opener Mayank Aggarwal (6), captain Dinesh Karthik (0) and Manoj Tiwari (1) made brief appearances at the crease before they fell to Starc, Morkel and Aaron respectively as the DareDevils were reduced to 17 for three in the fifth over.