RCB tops IPL table after Gayle special

West Indian smashes 75 not out, earns fifth MoM award

The Challengers were propping up the foot of the table after having lost three of their first four matches when Dirk Nannes’ misfortune became Gayle’s and the Challengers’ enormous good fortune. The West Indian has been an epitome of brutal consistency and was once again in the forefront at the Chinnaswamy stadium on Sunday as the Challengers brushed aside defending champions Chennai Super Kings by eight wickets.
After restricting the Super Kings to 128 for eight, the Challengers raced to 129 for two with 12 deliveries to spare.

Champion status

The victory catapulted the Challengers to the status of league champions for the first time in IPL history, and has opened up an excellent chance for Daniel Vettori’s men to make it to the final in Chennai next Saturday.

As the top team in the league, the Challengers will play the Chennai Super Kings in the first qualifier in Mumbai on Tuesday. Victory will thrust the Challengers into the final.

Defeat will not mean the end of the road, because they will then play in the second qualifier, against the winner of the match between the Mumbai Indians and the Kolkata Knight Riders in Chennai on Friday.

Such a scenario would have been farthest from the Challengers’ minds when Gayle landed in Bangalore just over a month back.

Since then, the giant left-hander has been in outstanding form, almost single-handedly transforming the team’s fortunes.

In just nine innings, he has amassed 511 runs with three half-centuries and two hundreds at 85.16 and an astonishing strike rate of 187.17. His unbeaten 75 on Sunday made him the highest scorer in IPL IV, and earned him an unbelievable fifth man of the match award!

So dominating has Gayle’s towering presence been that the rest of the team has been
The batting has tended to rely too much on Gayle and Virat Kohli, which is an area of some concern going into the climactic stages of the competition, but as the tournament has progressed, the RCB’ bowling and fielding have dramatically picked themselves up.
The return to somewhere near his best of Zaheer Khan has lent muscle and bite to the bowling, while skipper Daniel Vettori’s parsimony – only Pune Warriors’ Rahul Sharma has a better economy rate – has contributed to immense pressure on the opposition batting. Amazingly, Gayle and Kohli apart, the team is yet to realise its full potential, and that will excite Vettori and coach Ray Jennings no end.

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