A solid performance with bat and ball saw the Lucknow Super Giants seal a 12-run win against Sunrisers Hyderabad at DY Patil Stadium.

Super Giants captain KL Rahul (68) and Deepak Hooda (51) were the standout performers in the Lucknow innings as they set their opponents 170 to win.

Sunrisers had looked in a strong position to chase down that total at 143-4 with just under three overs left, only for a late collapse to see them fall well short.

The Super Giants were three down within the first five overs, with two wickets for Washington Sundar (2-28) in his first seven balls, claiming Quinton de Kock and Evin Lewis for a single run each, then, immediately after hitting a big six, Manish Pandey (11) could only find Bhuvneshwar Kumar from Romario Shepherd's delivery to leave them 27-3.

Hooda came to the crease and rescued things with Rahul, putting on a partnership of 87 before the former fell to Shepherd, with Thangarasu Natarajan (2-26) taking the late wickets of Rahul and Krunal Pandya (6) to seemingly limit Lucknow.

However, Abhishek Sharma (13) and Kane Williamson (16) failed to eat much into the target, and despite solid efforts from Rahul Tripathi (44) and Nicholas Pooran (34), Hyderabad ultimately fell short, with Jason Holder (3-34) taking three wickets for just three runs in the final over.

Skipper leads the way with the bat

Rahul and Hooda were the only batsmen for the victors to score 20 or more runs, but that was all that was needed after their efforts, with the captain hitting six fours and one six.

Hooda struck three fours and three sixes, and grabbed his second half-century of the IPL season so far.

Bowling attack comes to the fore

This was a classic case of the batsmen setting a defendable total, but then the bowlers having to earn their place by seizing control back late on.

Avesh Khan impressed with 4-24 from his four overs, including taking both Sunrisers openers, while Krunal (2-27) and Holder performed crucially at the death.

Liam Livingstone hit his first half-century in the Indian Premier League and was also key with the ball to propel Punjab Kings to a 54-run victory over Chennai Super Kings.

Punjab won their first game of the new IPL season but lost to Kolkata Knight Riders last time out, though they made light work of CSK on Sunday.

Livingstone was the difference-maker, as he struck 60 from 32 deliveries before succumbing to Ravindra Jadeja (1-34).

The England international needed to be at his best, however, given Punjab lost Mayank Agarwal and Bhanuka Rajapaksa in the first two overs.

Shikhar Dhawan (33) played his part, putting on a 95-run partnership with Livingstone until Dwayne Bravo (1-32) struck and Jitesh Sharma entertained on his debut, hitting three sixes in a rapidly accumulated 26 as Punjab reached 180-8 from their innings.

Kagiso Rabada's only wicket came early as CSK started their chase, the paceman dismissing Ruturaj Gaikwad, with Vaibhav Arora (2-21) bowling Moeen Ali for a duck.

Shivam Dube's fantastic 57 from 30 balls gave CSK hope, yet Livingstone drew an edge and then caught-and-bowled Bravo with the next delivery. A hat-trick did not materialise, but he fittingly dismissed international team-mate Chris Jordan to seal the win.

Livingstone lights up the stage

It was a supreme knock from Livingstone, who finally got a half-century under his belt in the IPL. His previous best score in the competition was 44 off 26 for Rajasthan Royals all the way back in 2019.

His 60 included 10 boundaries, with five of those clearing the rope, while he finished with fine bowling figures of 3-25.

Expensive spell for Choudhary

It was a day to forget for CSK's Mukesh Choudhary, who went for 52 off his four overs, taking just one wicket, which came in the very first over of the match.

A strong bowling performance from Lockie Ferguson saw the Gujarat Titans secure their second win of this year's Indian Premier League as they overcame the Delhi Capitals by 14 runs in Pune.

The New Zealander took 4-28 from his four overs as the Titans kept their opponents well away from their set target of 172.

Their own innings did not get off to the best of starts, with Matthew Wade (1) out in the first over to Mustafizur Rahman as he tried to scoop the ball over his shoulder, but only edging through to Rishabh Pant.

Shubman Gill did lead the way with the bat, though, hitting 84 from 46 balls, accompanied by solid efforts from Hardik Pandya (31) and David Miller (20) as the Titans ended on 171-6 from their 20 overs.

After losing Tim Seifert (3) early on, the Capitals never really looked like reaching the target, with Pant (43) the only man to score more than 25, before he became another of Ferguson's victims.

Delhi suffered their first defeat of the season after only reaching 157-9 from their 20 overs, while Gujarat keep up their perfect start to life in the IPL.

Gill improves on previous outing

Shubman Gill will have been relieved to see his team-mates score the runs to seal the win in their opening game against the Lucknow Super Giants after he fell for a third-ball duck.

However, he more than made up for it here with a tremendous knock of 84, including six fours and four sixes to help his team post an ultimately winning total.

Fergie time for Lockie

Ferguson set the tone by taking the wicket of Prithvi Shaw (10) with his first ball, before also picking up the crucial scalps of Mandeep Singh (18), Pant and Axar Patel (8).

Much like Gill, it was a big improvement from his 0-24 in the Titans' first game against the Super Giants.

Jos Buttler's second Indian Premier League century helped maintain Rajasthan Royals' winning start in 2022, setting the stage for a 23-run defeat of Mumbai Indians.

The Indians put their opponents in to bat first but no doubt soon regretted that decision as opener Buttler plundered 100 off 68 balls.

That knock did the heavy lifting in the Royals' 193-8 – a total that proved comfortably beyond Mumbai, despite the best efforts of teenager Tilak Varma (61).

Buttler had 26 runs in a dizzying fourth over alone and later put on 82 with captain Sanju Samson (30) for the third wicket in the biggest partnership of the match.

Shimron Hetmyer (35) played his part and the Royals were moving at a blistering pace up until his departure, collapsing from 183-3 with 11 balls remaining.

That shaky finish looked like it could prove costly when Varma joined Ishan Kishan (54) in the middle, but Ravi Ashwin finally got the better of the 19-year-old.

Yuzvendra Chahal (2-26) then set about tidying up the rest of the middle order, getting Tim David and Daniel Sams from consecutive deliveries before creating a hat-trick chance with his ball to Murugan Ashwin, only for Karun Nair to fluff the catch, if not his team's ultimately routine win.

Bumrah bests Buttler after brilliant show

One of the great limited-overs batsmen, Buttler's tally of a single hundred in 66 prior IPL matches was on the light side. He was well on the way to his second century within four overs, though, with 38 runs off 20 balls at that stage.

The England wicketkeeper hit five boundaries in succession – two fours and three sixes – in that fourth over. Although that pace then slowed a little, it still required an elite bowler to eventually get Buttler, with a Jasprit Bumrah beauty among three wickets in the 19th over as he finished with 3-17.

Victory charge ends with Varma wicket

Varma could not join Buttler on three figures, but this was a first fifty and will surely not be his last. It said a lot for Varma's performance that he earned a send off from Ashwin, having sent him for six with a reverse sweep from the previous ball.

Unfortunately for the Indians, already slightly behind in the game, their next boundary did not follow for almost three overs – during which time Chahal took his two wickets.

Andre Russell blasted a blistering unbeaten half-century and Umesh Yadav claimed his best Indian Premier League figures as Kolkata Knight Riders beat Punjab Kings by six wickets.

KKR moved to the top of the table with an emphatic victory at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday after bowling the Kings out for 137 all out off 18.2 overs.

Yadav took 4-23 off his four excellent overs as Punjab fell well short of posting a challenging target, Bhanuka Rajapaksa top scoring with 31 and Kagiso Rabada making 25 down the order on his debut.

The new-look Kings side crumbled from 62-2 in the sixth over, with dangerous duo Shikhar Dhawan and Liam Livingstone getting starts but failing to go on.

Tim Southee claimed 2-36, while Sunil Narine took 1-23 from his full compliment of overs, and Russell removed Rabada with the first ball he bowled before ending Punjab's innings by whipping off the bails to run Arshdeep Singh out off the next delivery.

Rabada removed Ajinkya Rahane, who reached the 4,000-run IPL milestone before falling for 12, and Venkatesh Iyer was dismissed by Odean Smith for only three.

It appeared to be game on when Rahul Chahar saw the back of Shreyas Iyer (26) and Nitish Rana, reducing KKR to 51-4 seven overs into their run chase.

But West Indies all-rounder Russell then took centre stage, bludgeoning 71 not out from only 31 balls in an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 90 with Sam Billings to get the Knight Riders home with 33 balls to spare.

Yadav takes purple cap

Seamer Yadav set the tone by trapping Mayank Agarwal leg before in a first over of the match that went for only two runs after Shreyas Iyer won the toss and put the Kings in.

He also had Livingstone caught in the deep, cleaned Harpreet Brar up and sent Chahar on his way to become the leading wicket-taker early in the tournament with eight from three matches.

Russell fit for the Kings

Russell was an injury doubt due to a shoulder problem, but he was firing on all cylinders as he put on yet another show to take over as the leading run-scorer in the 2022 IPL.

The Jamaican powerhouse struck eight sixes in a brutal knock, three of those coming off Smith in a 12th over that went for 30 runs. Russell finished off the job in style by launching Livingstone over the rope in successive deliveries.

Evin Lewis smashed an unbeaten half-century propel the Lucknow Super Giants to a six-wicket victory over Chennai Super Kings after Dwayne Bravo became the leading wicket-taker in Indian Premier League history.

Lucknow looked set for defeat when Quinton de Kock fell for 61 in their pursuit of 211 for a maiden IPL win, but Lewis stepped up with a blistering 23-ball 55 to stun CSK.

Robin Uthappa breezed to a 25-ball half-century before he was pinned in front for 50 by Ravi Bishnoi (2-24).

Moeen Ali continued the flurry of runs with his 35 off 22 deliveries, while Shivam Dube's clean striking in his 30-ball 49 along with MS Dhoni's brisk 16 propelled Chennai to an imposing total of 210-7.

De Kock and KL Rahul (40) shared an opening stand of 99 from 10.2 overs before the India batter was caught by Ambati Rayudu off Dwaine Pretorius.

Manish Pandey (five) followed soon after to Tushar Deshpande (1-40), with Bravo taking the catch, and Lucknow's chances seemingly diminished when De Kock skied a Pretorius slower ball to Dhoni.

Bravo (1-35) surpassed Lasith Malinga as he claimed his 171st wicket in the IPL by dismissing Deepak Hooda (13), but Lewis and Ayush Badoni, who raced to 19 off 9, saw the Super Giants to an unlikely victory with three balls to spare.

 

Lewis cuts loose after De Dock fireworks 

De Kock laid the platform for Lewis' late onslaught and the West Indies batter delivered in emphatic fashion.

The 30-year-old almost single-handedly turned the game on its head, launching three sixes and hitting six fours.

Bravo for Pretorius in losing cause

Pretorius claimed the two big wickets of openers Rahul and De Kock as he took 2-31, registering the lowest economy of any Super Kings bowler (7.75).

It was a memorable day for the 38-year-old Bravo, as the former West Indies captain returned 1-35 from his four overs, but he was unable to celebrate a victory.

Dinesh Karthik was the hero for Royal Challengers Bangalore as they edged to a three-wicket victory over Kolkata Knight Riders.

In a remarkable Indian Premier League clash on Wednesday, the Challengers needed seven off the last over as they chased down a modest target of 128.

Wanindu Hasaranga had starred with the ball for Bangalore, taking 4-20, with Andre Russell (25) the only Kolkata batter to surpass 20 runs.

The Knight Riders started well in response with the ball - Anuj Rawat going for a duck in the first over before Faf du Plessis (5) and Virat Kohli (12) fell to Tim Southee (3-20) and Umesh Yadav (2-16) in quick succession.

David Willey's steady 18 helped steady Bangalore, but they could not pick up the run rate, with Shahbaz Ahmed (27) and Sherfane Rutherford (28) also departing – the latter to Sheldon Jackson's excellent catch.

Hasaranga lofted a Southee delivery to Russell to put the pressure on, yet two excellent boundaries from Harshal Patel (10 not out) had Bangalore in the box seat heading into the final over.

Struggling with a shoulder problem, Russell stepped up to bowl, yet Karthik hit a short ball for six before sending the next delivery down the ground to seal a hard-fought win.

Karthik bides his time

In total, Karthik spent 23 minutes at the crease, yet only faced seven deliveries. And after surviving a scare with a miscalled run, the 36-year-old made the final two balls count, showing great composure under huge pressure.

Russell decision backfires

Russell had to leave the field midway through Bangalore's chase to receive treatment on his right shoulder, but it was he who was handed the ball for the decisive final over.

Shreyas Iyer was swiftly made to regret that call, with Russell finishing with figures of 0-36 from 2.2 overs.

Sanju Samson hit a powerful fifty in his 100th Indian Premier League appearance for Rajasthan Royals to set up an emphatic 61-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Royals captain Samson marked his milestone game with a fantastic innings, blazing 55 from 27 balls as he hit five of his team's 14 maximums, helping them to 210-6.

The Royals got contributions right down the order at MCA Stadium, with opener Jos Buttler (35) making the most of an early let-off having been caught off a no-ball to set the tone alongside Yashasvi Jaiswal (20).

New signing Devdutt Padikkal added 41 and Shimron Hetmyer's rapid knock (32 from 13) provided a quick finish as Rajasthan set an imposing target.

The Sunrisers reply was over before it really began. Skipper Kane Williamson (2) was the first to go on his return from injury, while Rahul Tripathi and Nicholas Pooran were both dismissed for ducks.

That left them in disarray at 9-3 inside five overs, and while Aiden Markram (57) steadied things and Washington Sundar (40 from 14) showed some flair, the result was long beyond doubt as the Sunrisers ultimately reached 149-7 from their 20 overs.


More misery for Sunrisers

These teams were the bottom two in last season's IPL, but on this early evidence the Royals look much more likely to improve their fortunes.

Sunrisers won only three of their 14 matches last season to finish bottom of the standings and this heavy defeat will do little to inspire confidence of a turnaround.

But Rajasthan, who have been either seventh or eighth in the table for three straight years, produced a complete performance.

Samson, having scored 82 the last time these teams met, was fantastic once more and Yuzvendra Chahal took 3-22 while Prasidh Krishna's first three overs went for just two runs before he finished on 2-16.

Royals first to defend a total

It has been a thrilling start to the 2022 IPL, with the chasing team – sometimes in improbable circumstances – finding a way to win in each of the first four matches this season.

But the Royals ensured that streak came to an end here by becoming the first side to defend a total.

Unlike those contests which came before, it quickly became apparent which way this result was going. The Sunrisers never got themselves back in with a chance after the Royals accelerated to set a high target.

Rahul Tewatia thrashed a brisk 40 to secure a five-wicket victory for Gujarat Titans in their maiden Indian Premier League game against fellow newbies Lucknow Super Giants on Monday.

Half-centuries from Deepak Hooda (55) and Ayush Badoni (54) guided the Super Giants to 158-5 having lost four wickets in the first five overs.

That recovery was not enough, however, as Tewatia saw the Titans to the target of 159 with two balls to spare.

Titans captain Hardik Pandya (33) and Matthew Wade (30) laid the foundation for a successful chase, David Miller also contributing a quickfire 30 as Gujarat's batting depth provided the difference.

KL Rahul started his IPL campaign in disappointing fashion as he was caught behind – on review – from the first ball of the innings from Mohammed Shami (3-25), who removed Quinton de Kock (seven) soon after.

A superb Shubman Gill catch off Varun Aaron (2-45) then dismissed Evin Lewis (10) and Shami collected his third by bowling Manish Pandey (six) as Lucknow limped to 32-4 in the powerplay.

Hooda headed the fightback alongside Badoni in an 87-run partnership as the Super Giants scored 111 runs in the last 10 overs to reach a competitive total.

Dushmantha Chameera (2-22) boosted Lucknow's hopes by dismissing Gill for a duck and bowling Vijay Shankar (four) to reduce the Titans to 15-2.

Eighty runs were still required off just over eight overs despite Hardik and Wade's repair work, but Tewatia hit two sixes and five fours, the last of which clinched victory to power the Titans to triumph.

Krunal earns Pandya bragging rights

Hardik looked in scintillating touch as he hit 33 off 28 deliveries, with five fours and a six, before sibling Krunal Pandya had him caught by Pandey.

The left-arm spinner finished with figures of 1-17 from his four overs, boasting the lowest economy of any bowler in the match (4.25).

Rahul fails to deliver

Only Ruturaj Gaikwad (635) and Faf du Plessis (633) scored more runs in last year's tournament than Rahul, who managed 626 for the Punjab Kings, but the new Super Giants captain's failure set the tone for a disappointing performance from his side.

The Punjab Kings claimed a dramatic five-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore in their Indian Premier League opener, despite Faf du Plessis' impressive debut at the DY Patil Stadium.

Former South Africa skipper Du Plessis made the switch to the Challengers after leading the Chennai Super Kings to glory last year.

Du Plessis mustered an impressive 88 off just 57 balls alongside Virat Kohli (41), who he replaced as captain, as the 37-year-old made his mark on his new side in emphatic fashion.

That partnership generated 118 runs from 61 balls, while fellow veteran Dinesh Karthik added 32 off just 14 deliveries as the three-time runners-up concluded on 205-6 from their 20-over allocation.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa (43) and Mayank Agarwal (32) led the Kings’ response as they chased the target of 206.

Their momentum stalled at the start of the 14th over; Mohammed Siraj dismissing Rajapaksa before Rajangad Bawa was trapped in front for a duck with the following ball.

Akash Deep claimed Liam Livingstone (19) soon after but a late surge from Odean Smith, who managed 25 off only eight balls, and Shahrukh Khan (24) saw the Kings over the line with an over to spare.

Fantastic Faf

Du Plessis hit 633 runs last season – a tally only bettered by Ruturaj Gaikwad (635) – as he inspired the Super Kings to a fourth IPL title.

The veteran began this campaign in the same vein, although his 10 boundaries (seven sixes, three fours) came in a losing cause for the Challengers.

Late surge stuns Challengers

Du Plessis' side must have thought they had contained their opponents after claiming three wickets in the space of two overs.

But Smith and Shahrukh had other ideas as their partnership brought 52 runs from 25 deliveries – including 38 in the final two overs – to complete a remarkable chase down.

Delhi Capitals secured an impressive opening victory in the Indian Premier League against Mumbai Indians at Brabourne Stadium, beating the five-time champions by four wickets.

Despite missing David Warner, Mitchell Marsh and Anrich Nortje, the Capitals ultimately eased to victory, with Lalit Yadav (47 not out) and Axar Patel (38 not out) rescuing what had looked like a precarious situation.

An impressive 81 from 48 balls from Ishan Kishan helped the hosts on their way to 177-5 from their 20 overs, and they then reduced the Capitals to 104-6 from 13.2 overs, only for a partnership of 75 off the next five overs from Lalit and Axar to see the visitors home.

Kishan put on an opening stand of 67 with Indians captain Rohit Sharma (41) before the latter hit Kuldeep Yadav (3-18) to Rovman Powell.

Delhi appeared to be back in contention when the dangerous Kieron Pollard was caught brilliantly by Tim Seifert, the fielder taking a diving two-handed catch to his left to dismiss the Trinidadian for just three, but Tim David (12) played the support role for Kishan to do the damage, hitting 11 fours and two sixes.

Prithvi Shaw (38) and Seifert (21) made a promising start in reply before New Zealander Seifert was bowled by Murugan Ashwin, with Mandeep Singh following two balls later for a duck.

Capitals coach Ricky Ponting looked concerned on the sidelines when skipper Rishabh Pant hit a Tymal Mills delivery straight to David for just one, but Lalit and Axar eventually put on a show to see their team to victory.

Axar makes amends with the bat

Axar had not had the best of times with the ball in hand, going for 40 from his four overs without taking a wicket.

However, he more than made up for it with the bat as he smacked 38 from just 17 balls, including three sixes and the winning four to see his side to victory.

Sams has day to forget

Someone else who did not enjoy bowling was Daniel Sams, who went for 57 without taking a wicket from his four overs, including conceding nine boundaries (six fours, three sixes).

The game looked like it was drifting heavily towards Delhi's favour anyway, but that was confirmed when the Australian's final over went for 24.

Kolkata Knight Riders eased to a six-wicket win in Saturday's 2022 IPL opener, with MS Dhoni unable to rescue a result for defending champions Chennai Super Kings in his first match since stepping aside as captain.

Dhoni skippered CSK to their fourth title in 2021, beating KKR in the tournament decider, before his shock decision to allow Ravindra Jadeja to lead the side this year – one of two notable changes that left the Super Kings looking a little short.

CSK first missed the steadying presence of the departed Faf du Plessis – Player of the Match in last year's final – at the top of the order and were in need of a lift from Jadeja when he arrived in the middle in the eighth over.

Instead, he had Ambati Rayudu run out and almost consigned Shivam Dube to the same fate before finally settling alongside Dhoni.

The 40-year-old still did much of the heavy lifting in their 70-run, 56-ball partnership, scoring 35 off his final 13 deliveries to reach an unbeaten 50 and allow Jadeja's (26 not out) innings-ending six to take the Super Kings to what they hoped would prove a competitive 131-5.

Ultimately, that was not enough, as 44 from KKR opener Ajinkya Rahane ensured the chase was always ahead of the game.

Three Dwayne Bravo wickets saw him draw level with Lasith Malinga's IPL record of 170, but Shreyas Iyer, KKR's own new captain, finished the job with his unbeaten 20.
 

Teething problems for first-time skipper

There were no safer pair of hands in the IPL last year than Jadeja's, as he made 13 catches – the most of any player excluding wicket-keepers. But this was a nervy bow as captain in his 201st IPL match, only looking remotely comfortable with the bat once Dhoni – walking in to huge applause – took control.

Similarly, Jadeja appeared far happier playing his natural game than making big calls in the second innings, taking a simple catch from Rahane but soon blowing a review on an lbw appeal that saw Sam Billings clearly glove the ball.

KKR's long wait for Wankhede win ended

KKR ultimately fell just short in the final, but they were happy to see the 2021 tournament shifted to the United Arab Emirates due to coronavirus. The Knight Riders had won only one of their previous six IPL matches in India.

They may well have feared this match at Wankhede Stadium then, a venue at which they had suffered eight successive defeats. However, a first KKR win here since May 2012 was secured with relative ease.

Andre Russell and Sunil Narine both had solid outings with the ball to help the Kolkata Knight Riders secure a six wicket win over defending champions Chennai Super Kings to kick off the 2022 Tata Indian Premier League at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday.

The Knight Riders won the toss and elected to field first, a decision which was proven right early as the Super Kings lost openers Ruturaj Gaikwad (0) and Devon Conway (3) in quick succession.

Despite a fighting 50 not out from former captain MS Dhoni, Chennai could only muster up 131-5 off their 20 overs.

Umesh Yadav bowled a fiery spell to finish with 2-20 from his four overs.

Narine went wicketless in his four overs while only conceding 15 runs and Russell took 1-38 from his four overs.

KKR then got through their chase with little resistance thanks to a top score of 44 from Ajinkya Rahane and solid contributions from Sam Billings (25) and Nitish Rana (21).

Captain Shreyas Iyer (20) and Sheldon Jackson (3) were at the crease when KKR got to 133-4 with nine balls to spare.

Despite the loss, Dwayne Bravo was excellent with the ball taking 3-20 from his four overs and, in the process, joining Sri Lankan great Lasith Malinga at the top of the all-time IPL leading wicket-takers list with 170.

Ricky Ponting thinks Rishabh Pant can follow the same path as Rohit Sharma and go on to captain India after becoming an inspirational leader in the Indian Premier League.

Pant was appointed Delhi Capitals skipper ahead of the 2021 IPL with Shreyas Iyer impacted by a shoulder injury.

The India wicketkeeper-batsman retained the role on a permanent basis and will come up against Rohit when Delhi start their IPL campaign with a showdown against Mumbai on Sunday.

Capitals coach Ponting championed Rohit to be installed as Indians skipper during the former Australia captain's time with that franchise and the batter has proved to be an impressive leader - lifting the IPL trophy five times.

Rohit has also taken over from Virat Kohli as India captain and Ponting believes Pant, 24, has the credentials to have that honour.

Ponting said: "I hadn't thought about that actually but they [Pant and Rohit] are actually quite similar.

"When Rohit took over at Mumbai, he was quite a young man as well, and had started out in his international cricket.

"He was probably very similar, I'm not sure how old he was but he would have been 23-24, similar to what Rishabh is here at the Delhi Capitals.

"To tell you honestly, they're quite similar people. I know they are great mates and they talk all the time and they're probably exchanging things about leadership and captaincy along the way as well.

"Rohit probably doesn't want to give too many secrets away because we're going to play against him in a couple of days' time. I think there's every opportunity for Rishabh's journey to be similar to Rohit Sharma's.

"He's a young captain of a successful franchise and growing on a daily basis and hopefully Rishabh can have the same sort of success Rohit's had at the Mumbai Indians.

"And then with some experience in a role like this in a high-pressure tournament like the IPL, I've got no doubt in the years to come there's every chance that Rishabh could be an international captain. No doubt about it."

Virat Kohli feels "much more relaxed" without the responsibility of being captain ahead of Royal Challengers Bangalore's opening game against Punjab Kings on Sunday.

Kohli relinquished the captaincy at the end of the 2021 IPL and Faf du Plessis has been charged with the task of replacing him.

The former India skipper is in no doubt it was a wise decision to step down from a role he had held since 2013.

He told RCB's official website: "It's a good change; I'm much more relaxed.

"The same excitement of coming to practice and just focusing on my skills and what I need to do as a batter, looking forward to these sessions is something that I used to experience very regularly before.

"Not that you don't focus on it, but somewhere when you have other responsibilities, that tends to kind of take a back seat, and over a period of time when you do it over and over again, and your mind is only running in one direction, then you can tend to lose that joy to come and practice.

"For me, that's always been the essence of playing cricket and something that I've always wanted for it to be alive within me. And I certainly feel that joy of purely coming here and hitting the ball again."

Kohli says he can see things from a different perspective without being captain, but will still be a leader.

He said: "I see it from a very different point of view. When you take a decision like this, a lot of people go, 'One should look at things from a point of responsibility and you have to take responsibility'. 

"And people don't understand that if you as a player cannot be the best version of yourself on the field, then that responsibility for me personally as a player means nothing."

Kohli added: "You can still be a leader within the team, drive the team forward towards success and winning trophies and titles, but I take a lot of pride in contributing for the team.

"If something, I feel, is pushing that joy down, that fun factor of just playing cricket, and just looking forward to doing something special on the field.

"If anything is coming in between that, and having the knowledge that you do have people who have able minds to be able to take the team forward, then I think it’s a wise thing for anyone to create some space for themselves.

"Just take a deep breath and restructure things and say, 'Hold on, I might not have looked at a lot of things that I need to work on, and here's a chance for me to restructure, rethink about what I want to do', and just find things to improve, find a little bit at practice something that you look forward to. That is something I’ve experienced in this phase."

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