Kevin Pietersen could only watch from the sidelines as his Delhi Daredevils lost the opening match of their 2014 IPL campaign by eight wickets to Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The exiled England star is currently nursing a broken finger, rendering him unable to captain the side that parted with £880,000 for his services at the auction.
While that figure sounds astounding, it was Yuvraj Singh who fetched the biggest asking price of £1.45m. The Indian repaid some of that fee in the opening game, with a knock of 52* that helped his team over the line with ease.
Batting first, the Daredevils got off to a terrible start, slipping to 35/4 in the eighth over. Stand-in skipper, Dinesh Karthik, was dismissed for a golden duck before JP Duminy and Ross Taylor were summoned to the crease to salvage the innings.
And that is just what they did, putting on an unbroken stand of 110 for the fifth wicket to at least post a competitive total. Duminy (67*) returned to the pavilion at the end of the 20th over, with the New Zealander, who contributed 43*.
Bangalore were set 146 runs to win, at a rate a little above seven an over. The chase didn’t start spectacularly, when Nic Maddinson was undone for just four. But Virat Kohli – and later Yuvraj – set about chipping away at the target at a comfortable stroll.
Kohli would bat through to the end, eventually finishing on an agonizing 49*. Meanwhile Partiv Patel contributed 37 but his dismissal invited Singh to unleash on the Delhi bowling attack.
Five sixes in a knock of 52 runs from 29 balls saw Bangalore easily over the finish line with 20 deliveries still to spare. It was a performance befitting of the large sum paid for his services.
Conversely, Delhi missed the might of Pietersen, who would undoubtedly have contributed towards setting a larger target for victory. The former Test cricketer injured his finger during pre-season training with Surrey – who he will also represent between IPL and Caribbean Premier League commitments – and a return date has yet to be set.
The seventh edition of the Indian Premier League is currently being hosted in Abu Dhabi, but is set to return to India next month, at the culmination of the country’s general elections.
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