Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis dished out a chasing masterclass with a 148-run opening partnership as Royal Challengers Bangalore made a sensational start to their IPL campaign with a comprehensive eight-wicket demolition of Mumbai Indians in Bengaluru on Sunday.
Sent into bat, Tilak Varma smashed a scintillating 84 off 46 balls to single-handedly power MI to 171 for seven, but Kohli and du Plessis made mockery of the total, slamming twin fifties as RCB romped home with as many as 22 balls to spare.
Chasing 172, Kohli (82 not out) and Du Plessis (73) produced an exhibition of sublime stroke-making, plundering 10 boundaries and as many maximums during their near flawless 89-ball stand.
After du Plessis perished in the 15th over, Kohli completed the job, hitting a four and six off Arshad Khan to knock off the winning runs to hand MI their 11th consecutive defeat inn their first match of the season.
MI brought in Jason Behrendorff in place of Suryakumar Yadav as their impact player, but it didn’t work as he and his new-ball partner Arshad was taken to the cleaners by Kohli and du Plessis, racking up 30 in three overs.
If Behrendorff was smacked for successive sixes by du Plessis, Kohli blasted a four and six off Jofra Archer after being dropped by the bowler in the first ball.
Veteran spinner Piyush Chawla was then introduced, but du Plessis sent him across the extra cover, while Kohli pulled one across the midwicket off Archer as RCB scored 53 in six overs.
Cameron Green was then taken apart with du Plessis hitting two fours and a maximum. The skipper repeated the treatment to Hrithik Shokeen with two maximums to reach his fifty.
Kohli then whacked Chawla over long-on to bring up the team hundred before reaching his individual fifty in the 12th over.
Jason Behrendorff bled 16 runs in the next with du Plessis cracking a six and a four. Kohli then pulled Archer over deep square leg as runs kept coming thick and fast.
MI picked up du Plessis and Dinesh Kartik (0) in the fag end, but it was too late as Glenn Maxwell (12 not out off 3 balls) and Kohli finished off things in style.
Earlier, MI had a poor start, but Varma, coming off a successful last season, held the innings together with a sensational knock.
RCB bowlers had reduced MI to 20 for three in 5.2 overs, but Varma added 50 and 48 with Nehal Wadhera (21) and Arshad Khan (15 not out) for the fifth and eighth wickets respectively.
The 20-year-old decorated his knock with nine boundaries and four sixes.
Ishan Kishan smashed two fours before being removed by Mohammed Siraj with an outswinger, while Cameron Green was dismissed by Reece Topley, who took his first IPL wicket.
Rohit got a life when Siraj and Dinesh Kartik collided while going for the catch in the fifth over. However, the India skipper couldn’t capitalise as Akash Deep induced an edge to reduce MI to 20 for 3 in 5.2 overs.
Varma then came to bat and slammed a big hit over long-on to take MI to 29 for three in the powerplay.
In the eighth over, Topley left the field after suffering a shoulder injury while diving to stop a boundary off Varma’s bat.
Suryakumar Yadav, who has been in poor form, too perished after a start, hitting straight to Shahbaz Ahmed.
However, Varma continued to bat with confidence, reverse-sweeping Michael Bracewell for a four before hitting a six and four off Maxwell as 16 runs came off the 12th over.
Wadhera produced back-to-back maximums off Karn Sharma but the bowler had him caught by Kohli as MI slumped to 99 for five.
There was lot of expectations from Tim David but Karn Sharma cleaned him up when he tried to go for a big hit.
Du Plessis then produced a superb catch to get rid off Hrithik Shokeen as Harshal Patel got his first wicket of the season, leaving MI at 123 for 7 in 17.1 overs.
Varma, however, showed his temperament as he slammed Akash Deep over deep square leg for another maximum to reach his half century.
Siraj, who had figures of 3-0-5-1 after three overs, bowled the 19th over, but he sent down five wides to stop Varma, who blasted two fours as MI reached 149 for seven following the 16-run over.
Varma then clobbered Harshal for two sixes and a four in the last over as 48 runs came in last 17 balls.