Bangalore, Rajasthan make winning IPL starts

KOCHI, April 9, 2011 (AFP) – AB de Villiers smashed a quickfire 54 as the Royal Challengers Bangalore spoilt the Indian Premier League debut of Kochi Tuskers Kerala with a six-wicket win on Saturday. Chasing a stiff 162, Bangalore overhauled the target with eight balls to spare in the high-scoring thriller at the Nehru Stadium, with de Villiers’ 40-ball unbeaten half-century the pick of the batting.

Bangalore looked in trouble at 137-4 in the 18th over but de Villiers held his nerve and Asad Pathan hit three fours in a row to pull off a fine win for the team, which is owned by multi-millionaire liquor baron Vijay Mallya.

Batting first, Kochi rode on a rollicking 80-run opening stand between Brendon McCullum and Venkatsai Laxman to pile up 161-5 off 20 overs.

McCullum, the first century-maker of the IPL, hammered 45 off 32 balls and Test specialist Laxman carted a 26-ball 39 with two fours and two sixes to underline his worth in the shortest format of the game. New Zealand left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori was the most impressive among the Bangalore bowlers, giving away just 17 runs while taking one wicket in his four overs.

Kochi, led by Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene, is one of the t