Chris Gayle came to the party like only he can to help the Royal Challengers Bangalore to an opening IPL 2015 victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders, and come Monday, RCB will be confident of topping the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
IPL matches are always a treat at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, with beautiful batting tracks and small dimensions of the ground making it, more often than not, a high-scoring spectacle.
RCB usually revel in the Bangalore cauldron, and having watched Gayle smash the KKR bowling to bits, Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers will be champing at the bit to make an impression in IPL 2015 as well – ominous signs for SRH.
The Royal Challengers looked dead and buried at one point during the chase against KKR, with Kohli going early and De Villiers throwing his wicket away, leaving Gayle to do it all. When Darren Sammy, the last recognised batsman at the other end, also fell, it looked like KKR would cruise it, but then Gayle stepped into that six-hitting gear and any equation seemed possible.
Such is the destructive ability of the big man, if he catches fire, then no target looks unassailable, and so it proved at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.
"It is a good start to our IPL," said Gayle to IPL's official website. "From the team point of view we are very happy to get a win. Any game that you play first you always want to start with a win and we have got that.
"It was a great game of cricket and both teams played well. I am really happy to turn up on the winning side. For me, it was a fantastic innings but every other guy as a player played a part in it."
RCB would have been buoyed by that victory, but they will also know there are plenty of improvements to be made – be that in the bowling, batting and particularly fielding -- if they are to go on a winning run. Too many times in IPL history, the Bangalore side have flattered to deceive and the biggest challenge for this star-studded side will be living up to the expectations and mixing style with substance.
Kohli has talked about no holding back and playing fearless cricket time and again in the lead up to this IPL, and that much was evident in the RCB chase, with most batsmen going hell-for-leather from ball one, which might have been questioned had Gayle not worked his magic.
"The captain expressed himself in the team meeting before the game and during the practice," added Gayle. "He said that we are going to play fearless cricket. He told us that there is no pressure, just go and enjoy yourself and express yourself. That is what we wanted to do and we did that. I am really happy with that."
If Gayle is happy, RCB will certainly be happy and it will be the Sunrisers Hyderabad's job to turn those smiles upside down come Monday. SRH were overwhelmed by a wonderful century from Brendon McCullum in their first game, with the Hyderabad side then unable to cope with the pressure of a big chase and eventually coming up pretty short.
Raised eyebrows were very much on display at the start of the game when it became clear that Dale Steyn had been left out of the lineup, and SRH will probably have to rethink their strategy in that department. Finding a way to get both Trent Boult and Steyn in the side could be the difference between winning games and losing them, and against the batting might of RCB, Steyn will certainly be an absolute necessity.
Something to ponder on as well for SRH will be the batting order, with Kane Williamson coming in at No.6 when he really should have been the one-down batsman, especially in a big chase.
If RCB bat first -- and that is assuming there will be a game at all with rain set to play a big factor in Bengaluru -- it is likely that SRH will face a huge target to haul down again and in order to do that right, sorting out the batting order will be essential. Williamson, if he is playing, is too good a batsman to be chopped down to No.6; it should be play him at No.3 or do not play him at all.
Where to Watch Live
Get the Live Blog and Updates of the Match HERE
The IPL 2015 match is scheduled to begin at 8 pm IST (3.30 pm BST, 10.30 am ET) with live coverage in India on Sony Max, Sony Six, Sony Kix and Sony Aath. Viewers in India can also live stream the match online on Hotstar and the Starsports website.
RCB vs SRH can be watched live in the UK and Europe on Sky Sports or via live streaming online on Sky Go and Watch Sky Sports. Catch the match live in the US on ESPN, while all the IPL 2015 game action can also be live streamed on ESPN Cricket.
Viewers around the world can catch Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Sunrisers Hyderabad Live on Cricketgateway.