The Rajasthan Royals began their IPL 2014 campaign in India with the easiest of seven-wicket victories over the Delhi Daredevils, who failed to hit anything remotely their stride in front of their own fans at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
Put into bat first, the Daredevils never really found top fear, managing just 152 for five, and that too thanks largely to some big hitting in the final overs from JP Duminy and Kedar Jadhav.
The Royals were never troubled in their chase, with two youngsters -- Karun Nair (73, 50b, 8x4, 2x6) and Sanju Samson (34) impressing, as the former champs cantered home in just 18.3 overs.
At the beginning of the chase, Ajinka Rahane could not provide the calming influence at one end, like he so often does for the Royals, with the opener, after a couple of wonderfully crisp boundaries, falling prey to another attempt at a four through the covers with Murali Vijay taking a wonderful diving catch to give Wayne Parnell his first wicket.
Karun Nair and Sanju Samson, two players who speak the same language, put on 51 runs together for the second wicket to offset the early loss of Rahane, with Samson (34, 28b, 2x4, 2x6), yet again, playing some man-that-is-beautiful shots, before losing his wicket just when he looked set for a big score - stumped off the bowling of Shahbaz Nadeem, a couple of deliveries after getting the fans on their feet with a boundary and a nice six.
Skipper Shane Watson, with the Royals needing 82 from the final ten overs, sent Rajat Bhatia in at No.4, and the ploy worked with the all-rounder allying for 44 runs with Karun, who went up a couple of gears following Samson's dismissal in some style, in just five overs.
Bhatia fell after a 13-ball 17, with the Royals needing just 38 from the final five overs, which Karun and Watson chased down easily.
It was a bit of a fractured first innings for the Daredevils, with the home side not quite able to get that momentum going and heading into overdrive.
Murali Vijay and Quinton De Kock, so important for DD's batting order, could give their side a good start together, with the former falling in the first ball of the fifth over, lobbing a catch to Watson off James Faulkner's first delivery.
Kevin Pietersen should have been walking back a couple of overs later, but was bizarrely given a life with square-leg umpire Sanjay Hazare deciding not to go to the third umpire after some good work from Samson had found the Daredevils skipper short of the crease.
The Royals camp could not quite believe the decision, but they were not made to pay for it too much by Pietersen, with the former England star throwing his wicket away, after a decent start, by finding Steven Smith at long-on off Pravin Tambe.
Tambe (4-0-25-2) would then make it two wickets in over number 10, latching onto a caught and bowled after Quinton De Kock (42, 33b, 5x4, 1x6) mistimed his shot back to the bowler.
All momentum was sapped out of the DD innings with those two wickets, and it took a while for Duminy and Dinesh Karthik to set that base needed to go six-crazy in the final five overs.
Karthik fell after a 16-ball 12 while looking to take charge, leaving Duminy (39, 31b, 4x4, 1x6) and Jadhav (28 n.o., 14b, 2x4, 2x6) to tonk a few in the final overs, which they duly did to take the score beyond 150. However, that target proved to be well short with the Royals romping home.