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Sunrisers Hyderabad began their title defence in style, thumping Royal Challengers Bangalore by 35 runs in the inaugural match of the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League here at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket stadium on Wednesday.

A sizzling half-century from Yuvraj Singh (62, 27b, 7x4, 3x6) and composed knocks from Moises Henriques (52, 37b, 3x4, 2x6) and Shikhar Dhawan (40) saw the Sunrisers finish at a strong 207 for four after being put into bat.

Against the best bowling attack in the league, RCB stared at an uphill task. But an explosive start from Chris Gayle (32) and Mandeep Singh (24) put them on course nicely. Even after they departed in successive overs, smart batting from Travis Head (30) and Kedar Jadhav (31) saw the Challengers maintain the required run-rate.

Hyderabad needed a stroke of brilliance and it arrived from Ben Cutting, who hit the stumps with a superb throw from deep square leg to end Jadhav’s stay and RCB never recovered from the jolt, eventually folding for 172 in 19.4 overs.

RCB’s familiar bowling woes hurt them again. The pacers consistently bowled short, giving ample opportunities for the Sunrisers’ batsmen to score freely. The Challengers gave away extra runs through their sloppy fielding as well.While Yuvraj was the star on the batting front, Rashid Khan enjoyed a memorable debut to finish as the best bowler for the Sunrisers. The leg-spinner got the decisive wickets of Mandeep and Head to finish with figures of 2/36 in four overs.

Earlier, David Warner (14), in his quest to regain his form, started well with two fours and a six. However, Aniketh Choudhary extended Warner’s miserable run by forcing him to play a half-hearted stroke straight to point in the second over.

The early setback didn’t unsettle the hosts as Dhawan and Henriques played sensibly to frustrate the visitors. Both the batsmen took complete advantage of RCB’s uninspired bowling effort. Dhawan cut loose in the sixth over, slamming four fours off stand-in skipper Shane Watson. The duo posted a fifty-run stand in 36 balls with Dhawan being the aggressor.

At the half-way stage, the Sunrisers were sitting pretty at 88 for one with Dhawan looking dangerous. The introduction of Stuart Binny brought some luck for RCB as he removed Dhawan, who fell for 40 (30b), while attempting to heave one over long on. The hosts were still going with a healthy run-rate thanks to the 74-run partnership between Dhawan and Henriques. The platform was nicely set for Yuvraj to play his natural game and the veteran stepped up in style. The elegant left-hander looked in total control right from the start. 

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