Defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad rode on a solid top order contribution and some disciplined bowling to defeat Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by 35 runs in the opening match of the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) here on Wednesday. (More IPL News)Asked to bat first by the visitors, Hyderabad posted a commanding 207/4 in their allotted 20 overs at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.In reply, RCB were bowled out for 172 runs in 19.4 overs. (Match Scorecard)RCB started their chase in explosive fashion as Chris Gayle and Mandeep Singh scored around 10 runs an over in the first five overs.The visitors suffered their first blow when a Rashid Khan delivery found an inside edge off Mandeep’s bat before hitting the stumps. (Yuvraj Singh’s form a good thing for Indian cricket, not for Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli)They suffered a bigger blow in the next over when Gayle slightly mistimed a shot off Deepak Hooda only to offer a skier to David Warner at long-off.Kedar Jadhav and Travis Head gave RCB a glimmer of hope with a 56-run stand off 31 balls but Ben Cutting produced an excellent bit of fielding to run out Jadhav and put an end to what was shaping to be a promising partnership.It was all downhill from there for RCB as they lost wickets at regular intervals. (IPL 2017: Yuvraj Singh riding high on confidence of successful comeback)By the time Ashish Nehra removed Shane Watson and Sreenath Aravind off consecutive deliveries in the 18th over with RCB still needing 52 runs, the match was almost as good as over.advertisementNehra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Rashid Khan clinched two wickets each while Deepak Hooda and Bipul Sharma got one each.Earlier, Hyderabad rode on a solid top order contribution to post a commanding total.Opener Shikhar Dhawan (40) and one-down Moises Henriques (52) made up for the early loss of skipper David Warner (14) with a 74-run second-wicket stand.Veteran Punjab batsman Yuvraj Singh (62), then joined the run feast and together with Australian all-rounder Henriques, brought up another 58-run stand for the third wicket to take the hosts past the 150-run mark by the 15th over.Earlier, Rajasthan left-arm pacer Aniket Choudhary could not have asked for a better IPL debut when he induced Warner with some swing to be comfortably caught by Mandeep Singh at backward point. The southpaw’s eight-ball knock was laced with two fours and a six.Thereafter, it was Dhawan and Henriques all the way, taking SRH past 50 in just five overs, as the visitors found it tough to handle the left-right combination.Dhawan, who has been out of the India selectors’ radar for quite a part of the domestic season, unsettled the RCB bowlers with his 31-ball knock comprising five fours, including four from RCB skipper Shane Watson’s first over.RCB had to wait until the 11th over to get their second wicket when Dhawan failed to clear the long-on boundary off Stuart Binny to be caught by Sachin Baby.Henriques, on the other hand, started with a flashy four and lost no time to settle down. The Aussie all-rounder helped SRH continue the momentum even after the fall of Dhawan and together with Yuvraj blasted the bowlers all over the park.Yuvraj, who was dropped on 26 off Choudhary, took full advantage of the life, rushing to his fastest IPL half century in just 23 balls.The 35-year-old’s 27-ball knock, comprising seven boundaries and three massive sixes, provided the much-needed impetus to the defending champions who left from where they left off in the last edition. He, however, fell to England quick Tymal Mills after failing to connect a fast good length delivery in the penultimate over of the innings.Deepak Hooda and Ben Cutting, then provided the finishing touch with some lusty blows to take the home side past the 200-run mark.
The Indian tennis federation on Saturday confirmed that it will approach world governing body ITF, seeking a neutral venue for the Davis Cup tie against Pakistan, saying it’s not an “unreasonable request” considering the escalating tension between the two nations.After the Indian government scrapped the special status accorded to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the developments have kept the AITA officials and players worried.”We have assessed the situation and feel that the atmosphere is not conducive to play in Pakistan. We have decided to write to the ITF on Monday to provide a neutral venue for the tie,” AITA secretary general Hironmoy Chatterjee told PTI.”It’s now up to the ITF. They will put it before the Davis Cup committee but it’s likely that they will accept our request. We are not making an unreasonable request. It’s a genuine request. In current circumstances, it is not conducive to play there,” he added.In retaliation to Indian government’s decision to revoke Article 370 and 35A on Wednesday, Pakistan had downgraded diplomatic ties with India.Pakistan then on Thursday stopped the Samjhauta Express at the Wagah border citing security concerns, following which an Indian crew escorted the train to Attari on the Indian side.The tie, for which AITA named a full-strength team, is scheduled to be held in Islamabad on September 14-15.No Indian Davis Cup team has travelled to Pakistan since 1964 and bilateral cricket ties between the two countries have been dormant since the 2008 terror attack in Mumbai.advertisementSince 2017, Pakistan have played four of the five home ties in Islamabad, hosting Korea, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Iran. Hong Kong had refused to travel to Pakistan in April, 2017, giving them a walkover.The last time Pakistan played on neutral venue was when it hosted China in Colombo, Sri Lanka in March 2016.In 2015, Pakistan played both their home ties on neutral venue. They played Chinese Taipei in Turkey while they hosted Kuwait in Colombo.Pakistan Tennis Federation President Salim Saifullah Khan had said that they will honour the decision of the ITF in case AITA seeks neutral venue.Also Read | Andy Murray to make singles return in CincinnatiAlso See: