Cape Town: Indian leg spinner Anil Kumble took five for five as Bangalore Royal Challengers crushed champions Rajasthan Royals by 75 runs on the opening day of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at Newlands on Saturday.
Last year’s runners up, Chennai Superkings, fared little better, losing by 19 runs to Mumbai Indians, led by India batsman Sachin Tendulkar (59 not out) in the day’s first game.
The second edition of the IPL was moved out of India due to security concerns and logical issues surrounding the general elections currently being held in that country.
The two matches were conducted amid unprecedented security exceeding that for the 2003 cricket World Cup in South Africa although there were no serious problems.
As a result, play began in a near empty stadium because it was so difficult and took so long to get in.
The champions started well as England’s Dimitri Mascarenhas took two wickets in the first over against Bangalore.
Bangalore captain Kevin Pietersen (32) and Rahul Dravid (66) were the only members of their team to reach double figures but they helped them recover to finish on 133-8.
The anticipated confrontation between Australian spinner Shane Warne and England batsman Pietersen never materialised.
Pietersen was dismissed from 30 balls before Royals skipper Warne brought himself into the attack.
The Australian appeared to have lost none of the old magic, producing drift and spin to clean bowl two batsmen before taking a spectacular diving catch at extra cover.
Warne finished with two for 18. But the Royals were spun away for an embarrassing total of 58 thanks to an extraordinary 3.1 overs by Kumble.
Tendulkar’s unbeaten innings, in bowler-friendly conditions, helped Mumbai post a competitive 165-7 against Chennai, although it was a furious spate of hitting from left-hander Abhishek Nayar that turned an average score into a winning one.
Nayar belted England all rounder Andrew Flintoff for three sixes in the 18th over, which cost 22 runs, during a cameo innings of 35 from just 14 balls.
Tendulkar then marshalled his bowlers perfectly to restrict Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team to 146-7. Their run chase faltered after a promising start built on the back of Australian Matthew Hayden’s 44.
The day’s only glitch came six overs into the first match when a black dog escaped on to the outfield from his owner’s hamburger stall under the main grandstand and evaded capture for almost 10 minutes while the bemused players looked on.
The remaining four teams play in a second double-header at the same venue on Sunday.