In a repeat of last year’s final, the Sunrisers Hyderabad emerged triumphant again, beating the Royal Challengers Bangalore by 35 runs.
The defending champions got off to the best possible start in the tenth edition of the IPL, after outclassing a depleted RCB outfit. Usually considered perennial underachievers, the Bangalore side had to open the campaign without captain Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, wicketkeeper Lokesh Rahul and youngster Sarfaraz Khan.
The Sunrisers posted one run less than they did in the final in May last year, but the result was just the same. The total was largely set up by fifties from Moises Henriques (52 off 37), and an explosive 62 off just 27 balls from experienced campaigner Yuvraj Singh. Overnight millionaire Tymal Mills, who bowled over 150km/h regularly, took 1-31 from his allotted overs. Tabraiz Shamsi didn’t play.
The response was encouraging from RCB. Chris Gayle got off to a good start as they looked to be coasting towards the trophy, and a 52-run stand with Sandeep Singh looked to give their side a great chance again. But mistakes were made, and no one could push on. Rashid Khan became the first Afghanistan player to take an IPL wicket by removing Sandeep for 24, and Gayle quickly followed for 32.
Victory was all but confirmed for the Sunrisers when stand-in skipper Shane Watson departed for 22, as the tail caved in, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ashish Nehra taking two wickets apiece to leave the depleted side 35 runs short.