Harbhajan puts Kohli's RCB in a spin in IPL opener

Oleh Alex Fisher 24 Mac 2019 8
Harbhajan puts Kohli's RCB in a spin in IPL opener

Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir put the Royal Challengers Bangalore in a spin as the Chennai Super Kings kicked off the defence of their Indian Premier League title with a seven-wicket win.

Chennai's spin duo took advantage of a slow, turning track to dismiss RCB for just 70, and defending that total was always too much of an ask despite tough batting conditions.

Virat Kohli at the top of the order excited many but he failed to fire as Harbhajan enjoyed himself, a shorter delivery forcing the India skipper to miscue to Ravindra Jadeja at deep midwicket.

Moeen Ali, AB de Villiers and Shimron Hetmyer all followed cheaply as RCB were reduced to 39-4 in the eighth over, only Parthiv Patel (29) offering any sort of resistance.

Patel was the only batsman to reach double figures as partners came and left, Tahir (3-9) taking over from Harbhajan (3-20) to put Chennai in total control.

While Chennai had a side bursting with spinners, RCB only had two and that made chasing down 71 a comfortable task for the Super Kings.

It was far from a fluid run chase, though, as scoring also proved a challenge for the hosts before Jadeja got them over the line.

Harbhajan bamboozles RCB stars 

Much was expected from a top order that included Kohli, De Villiers, Ali and Hetmyer but all four failed to make double figures as Harbhajan dominated at the start of the innings.

Kohli and De Villiers were both caught out by the slow Chennai track, while Ali's horrible shot gave the veteran spinner a simple return catch.

It set the tone for RCB, who collapsed to the sixth-lowest total in IPL history.

Raina breaks 5000-run barrier

After Kohli missed the chance to become the first batsman to reach 5000 runs in the IPL, Suresh Raina made no mistake as Chennai eased home.

A tickle to fine leg brought up the milestone for Raina – who started the day 15 runs short – but his innings was over three balls later as he holed out to Shivam Dube.

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Alex Fisher