A fine knock from new captain Faf du Plessis was not enough to prevent Royal Challengers Bangalore falling to a high-scoring five-wicket defeat in their opening Indian Premier League game on Sunday.
The South African, who has taken over the captaincy from Virat Kohli, hit 88 from 57 balls to help his side reach 205-2 off their 20 overs. Unbeaten knocks from Kohli (41) and Dinesh Karthik (32) contributed to a healthy total.
But it certainly failed to daunt Punjab who chased it down with an over to spare. Bhanuka Rajapaksa (43), Shikhar Dhawan (43) and player of the match Odean Smith's unbeaten 25 off just eight balls — that included one four and three sixes — all played key roles in Punjab reaching 208-5.
“We dropped Odean … and he's a really powerful hitter. You need to hold on to your chances. The cliche of catches win matches,” Du Plessis said.
In Sunday's early game, Axar Patel smacked an unbeaten 38 off 17 balls as Delhi Capitals recovered to beat Mumbai Indians by four wickets in their opening match.
Opener Ishan Kishan’s 81 not out off 48 balls had helped Mumbai reach 177-5 in 20 overs after being asked to bat at Brabourne Stadium. Kuldeep Yadav took 3-18 off his fours overs for Delhi and claimed the player of the match award.
“I thought it was a good score. It didn’t look like a pitch where you can get 170-plus at the start but we played well in the middle [overs] and finished well,” Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma said. “But we didn’t bowl according to our plans.”
Delhi, who were tottering on 72-5 at one point, recovered to win with 10 balls to spare after an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 75 off 30 balls between Axar and Lalit Yadav as they reached 179-6 in 18.2 overs.
Axar hit two fours and three sixes while Lalit cracked four fours and two sixes in his unbeaten 48.
“We made some mistakes on the field which didn't go according to plans,” Rohit said. “But those things can happen. We just need to keep it tight within the group. We are disappointed, but it's not the end.”