The IPL 2017 season got off to a brilliant start, with the Sunrisers Hyderabad pulling off a convincing win over the Royal Challengers Bangalore in a high-scorer at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium.
Put into bat first on a ground where the vast majority of the matches have been won by the team chasing, SRH were already on the backfoot. However, their batsmen, led by Yuvraj Singh, came to the fore, to post a total of 207.
In reply, while RCB threatened for about 11 overs, they lost their way, eventually going down by 35 runs.
Here are the talking points from the match.
Yuvraj Singh, you beauty:
Any doubts that lingered, any worries that we might have had, that the Yuvraj of the England series was the dying embers of a brilliant career, was put to bed emphatically on Wednesday.
In Hyderabad, at his IPL home ground, Yuvraj played like the Yuvraj of old – timing the ball to perfection, bringing those pull shots out, smoking the ball straight and making the bowlers go to their Plans B, C, D and E.
If Yuvraj stays in this form, we are in for a memorable IPL and SRH are going to be a pretty difficult team to beat.
Rashid Khan makes history:
What a moment it was for the 18-year-old, to not just become the first Afghanistani to play in the IPL, but also to then go on and pick up a wicket in his first over.
The leg-spinner did not have the greatest of games – he bowled too many bad balls – but that was also mainly because he was clearly nervous. Nobody can blame Rashid for getting overawed by the occasion, but the fact that he took two wickets on debut bodes well for his future and SRH's this season.
No Kohli or ABD, no RCB:
Chris Gayle threatened to blow SRH away with his sixes in the chase, but, with no Virat Kohli or AB De Villiers, the Royal Challengers struggled to find that batsman who could go on and make a big score.
And when you are chasing a total of over 200, you need someone to hold one end up – T20 style, of course – while the rest throw the bat around, going for the sixes and fours. The best players to do that are Kohli and De Villiers, and RCB need them back ASAP, otherwise that top four place could go away from them before they even realise it.
Shane Watson, the all-rounder needed:
Being the captain, there was pressure on Watson to step up with bat and ball. While he came a little too down the order to make an impact with the willow, Watson had a nightmare with the ball, conceding 41 runs in his three overs, which included a four-boundary first over.
Watson's greatest strength with the ball is that he can guess what the batsman is looking to do, and, as a result, pick the right ball to deliver every time. However, in this game, it looked like the pendulum had swung the other way – the batsmen seemed to read every delivery even before it was bowled, allowing them to take full toll.
With Kohli out, De Villiers struggling with a back problem and Gayle always a bit hit and miss, RCB need Watson to bring his A-game with bat and ball.
SRH vs RCB bowling:
The Sunrisers have one of the best bowling attacks in the IPL, while RCB's biggest weakness has been that department. While RCB's bowlers were not helped by some poor fielding in this match, it was clear that the Royal Challengers Bangalore struggle to find a different plan when they are put on the backfoot.
Yuvraj, Moises Henriques and Shikhar Dhawan did that quite well in the SRH batting innings.
And after the Sunrisers Hyderabad bowlers were put under pressure by an early assault from RCB, they showed their ability to come back strong, by bowling brilliantly in the second half of the innings.