Gayle storm gives RCB winning start
The city’s Central Business District was awash in a sea of red and as the fans trooped into the Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Thursday, their hopes centred on seeing Royal Challengers Bangalore win while vociferously cheering their favourite player Chris Gayle’s exploits with the bat.
On both counts they were satisfied as RCB defeated Mumbai Indians by just two runs in a thrilling finish and Gayle, despite being hampered by an injured leg, produced an innings that dropped anchor besides displaying his aggressive veneer.
When the match commenced, the skies remained clear and yet a sense of gloom did descend briefly within the RCB dug-out as Mumbai Indians debutant Jasprit Bumrah (3/32) stymied the home team’s batsmen. Gayle (92 n.o., 58b, 11x4, 5x6), as is his wont, had other ideas.
A mix-up with bowler Harbhajan Singh at the non-striker’s end and the resultant tumble meant Gayle was reduced to a one-leg marauder but that hardly mattered as he cleared the ropes with panache and ensured that RCB finished with a challenging score of 156 for five.
For Mumbai Indians, their openers were a dream-come-true as international cricket’s top two run-getters – Sachin Tendulkar and skipper Ricky Ponting – strode out together. The “Scorers and Statisticians Club” however was not troubled as the two seasoned purveyors of batting failed to build on their reasonably assured starts.
RCB’s Murali-effect also took shape as Muttiah Muralitharan and Murali Kartik wheeled away their overs. With Karnataka’s very own R Vinay Kumar removing the dangerous Dinesh Kaarthick and a well-set Ambati Rayudu, RCB stole a victory despite Kieron Pollard threatening to spoil the home party. The fans left on a high, relishing their perfect start to a summer of frenetic cricket.