Rajasthan Royals started their Indian Premier League campaign with a thumping 61-run victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in Pune on Tuesday.
Captain Sanju Samson lead the way for his side – top-scoring with a quick-fire half-century – while Jos Buttler (35), Devdutt Padikkal (41) and Shimron Hetmyer (32) all made big-hitting contributions as the Royals bludgeoned their way to 210-6.
In response, Hyderabad had their innings strangled at the start by the superb opening bowling of quicks Trent Boult and Prasidh Krishna and found themselves languishing on 37-5 after 10.2 overs. Captain Kane Williamson, Rahul Tripathi, Nicholas Pooran, Abhishek Sharma and Abdul Samad all failed to reach double figures.
Some late big-hitting from Aiden Markram (57 not out) and Washington Sundar (40) dragged the score to 149-7 after 20 overs but did not disguise the fact Williamson's side had been comprehensively outplayed.
Boult and Krishna finished with 2-23 and 2-16, respectively, from their four overs while leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal claimed three wickets to reach 250 scalps in T20 matches.
“It was a very different wicket than what we thought. If you bowled Test match lengths, the wicket was helping fast bowlers,” said Samson after the match.”
Asked about his goals for the coming season, he added: “No long term goals, just want to win as much as possible and contribute to team's victory.
“[I'm] Working on my fitness, game awareness, understanding conditions, and choosing my scoring options. Not rushing. I would like to spend lot of time in the middle knowing I can catch up anytime.”
Samson earned the player of the match award for his blistering innings in what was his 100th match for Royals who won the inaugural Indian Premier League edition under late Australian star Shane Warne in 2008.
The wicketkeeper-batter smashed three fours and five sixes in his 27-ball blitz and put on a key stand of 73 with Padikkal.
West Indies left-hand batter Shimron Hetmyer hit 32 off 13 balls and recorded two sixes to take the Royals' total past 200 after being out into bat first.
Hyderabad's Umran Malik clocked speeds of over 148 kph and claimed two wickets including English opener Buttler, who survived a few reprieves including being caught behind on a no-ball in the opening over, for 35.
“I think we started beautifully with the ball,” said losing captain Williamson. “We've seen in all games there's swing and assistance with the new ball – you have to try to make some inroads.
“We looked likely, but some fine margins. It was a good surface and they are a difficult team to stop. For us, we need to look at it logically and there are a number of things to improve on.
“With the bat, it was tough – the ball moved. We threw some punches at the back end, and Rajasthan did that beautifully too.”