Dubbed as the 'villain' of India's recent World Twenty20 defeat in the final against Sri Lanka, Yuvraj Singh answered his critics with a brilliant half century and guided Royal Challengers Banglaore along with Virat Kohli to an emphatic win over Delhi Daredevils by eight wickets in the Indian Premier League 7 at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
Yuvraj cracked an unbeaten 52 in 29 balls with five massive sixes and three boundaries while skipper Kohli, who came at No 3, played the supportive role with 49 not out. The duo were also involved in an 84-run partnership for the third wicket.
Chasing DD's 145, opener Parthiv Patel (37) gave RCB a flying start although they lost Nic Maddison (6) early in the second over. Patel and Kohli enjoyed a 56-run partnership before the south-paw was bowled by Rahul Sharma.
Later, it was Yuvraj and Virat show all the way. The duo hammered all the bowlers around the park and guided RCB to a comfortable win.
Earlier, Delhi 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-runs for the unbroken fifth wicket stand at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
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 Singh and two maximums off Ashok Dinda.
Coming together at 35 for four, the pair added 96 runs in the second 10 overs after the Daredevils could score just 49 for four at the halfway mark due to the initial jolts. The last five wickets yielded 63 runs with Duminy and Taylor scoring 14, 13 and 17 from the final three overs.
Duminy, the more aggressive of the duo, hit four boundaries and three sixes in his 48-ball unbeaten 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.
RCB captain Virat 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.
The other opener Murali Vijay (18) was though shaping up well as he smashed a huge six off Starc and then a four off Morkel before he also perished without contributing much.
Young Haryana leg-spinner Chahal, debuting for RCB in IPL, bowled him with a beauty as the ball straightened after pitching to knock down Vijay's off-stump as the Daredevils found themselves in dire straits at 35 for 4.
The responsibility of taking Daredevils to a respectable total was left to Taylor and Duminy and the duo grafted for runs before opening up later on to take Daredevils score to 145 for four.
—With agency inputs