Bangalore, April 7 (IANS) South African AB de Villiers and Sri Lanka's legendary spinner Muthiah Muralitharan guided Royal Challengers Bangalore to a victory over Delhi Daredevils by 20 runs in their opening match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at a jam-packed Chinnaswamy stadium here.
Chasing a modest target of 158, Daredevils were restricted to 137 for seven wickets in the stipulated 20 overs by some brilliant bowling and tight fielding by the hosts.
Retired Sri Lankan offie Muthiah Muralitharan wrecked the Daredevils with three wickets in four overs for 25 runs. Royal Challengers Bangalore's wicketkeeper AB de Villiers lifted the home team to 157 for eight in 20 overs from an early collapse, with a scintillating unbeaten 64.
Joining the Royal Challengers this season from Kochi Tuskers, Muralitharan scalped the Daredevils top order in three successive overs after speedster Zaheer Khan packed off skipper Virender Sehwag in the first over for a duck at point, caught by Cheteshwar Pujara.
With star batsmen Kevin Peterson, Ross Taylor and David Warner yet to join the team, Daredevils had to make do with second-run batsmen who could not survive the wily spin of Muralitharan or pace of Zaheer and R. Vinay Kumar.
Saving the hosts from blushes in their first league match of the tournament, de Villiers made up most for the absence of explosive opener Chris Gayle, who was dropped from the team on fitness grounds.
De Villiers held the fort on one side to help the team put up a defendable score of 157 for the loss of eight wickets and remained unbeaten. Opening batsman Andrew McDonald made a valuable 30.
Mayank Agarwal (16) and Vinay Kumar (18) were the only two middle order batsmen who withstood the onslaught of Daredevils' pacers Morne Morkel (2-30) and Doug Bracewell (3-32) to keep the strike rate rotating with De Villiers.
Put to bat first, Royal Challengers openers Andrew McDonald and Cheteshwar Pujara (11) were off to a brisk start with a flurry of shots before the latter was caught by Pathan off a Morkel beauty.
For Daredevils, Bracewell was the most successful bowler with three wickets, followed by Morkel two wickets. Shabaz Nadeem and Maxwell shared one each.
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