Gayle force blows KKR away

Royal Challengers ride on blistering ton to post nine-wicket win

Gayle force blows KKR away

The batting might of the Challengers, conspicuous by its absence in the earlier matches, resurfaced in splendid fashion while successfully chasing a challenging 171, and the visitors should profusely thank Gayle for their second win in the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League.

No one bid for Gayle in the auction held this January, and he had to wait till Dirk Nannes got injured for a chance to play in the IPL. Gayle justified his acquisition in brilliant manner, carving an unbeaten 102 (55b, 10x4, 7x6).

He took a while to assess the conditions and the bowlers, allowing his partner Tillkaratne Dilshan to do the scoring initially.

But once he got his eye in, Eden Gardens silently witnessed the kind of mayhem only Gayle can unleash. Lightning hits to the fence and massive hits into the stands flowed regularly from the left-hander’s bat as Gayle took wing. It seemed as if he was sending a message to the Knight Riders’ management with each shot, ‘This is what happens if you don’t pick me’.

No one escaped his scathing willow, despite Knight Riders’ skipper Gautam Gambhir rotating the bowlers often. Gambhir will have missed the experience of Brett Lee, replaced by Brad Haddin.

As Gayle transformed into a destructive storm, Dilshan wisely chose to give as much strike as possible to the West Indian, playing the role of support cast to perfection in a match-winning stand of 123 off just 73 balls.

Lakshmipathi Balaji snapped the rollicking stand, castling Dilshan, but by then, Royal Challengers had already travelled far enough down the road to victory.

In the company of Virat Kohli, Gayle rounded off a fine day in office for RCB, completing a richly-deserved hundred by smashing left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan over the covers for a boundary that also brought the winning runs for Bangalore.

But the Royal Challengers made an awful beginning to the match with spearhead Zaheer Khan conceding 19 runs in a horror first over that indicated another round of hammering.

Knight Riders openers Jacques Kallis and Haddin went off the blocks in frenetic fashion and the South African-Australian duo flayed RCB new ball bowlers as Zaheer and Sreenath Arvind struggled to control the movement that the Eden pitch offered initially.

At 44 without loss in a little more than four overs, the Knight Riders seemed set to muster a much bigger total than they eventually managed. But the dismissal of Haddin, who holed out to Kohli in the deep off Syed Jamaluddin, applied the brakes on the Knight Riders’ scoring.

Jamaluddin should be given a lot of credit for containing a set of hard-hitting batsmen, bowling a tight line and length to choke them. The left-arm spinner was playing his first match but showed remarkable temperament to bowl against two batsmen who were timing the ball well.

The run-rate gradually came down after the six-over segment of Power Play and it required a few beefy shots by Gambhir and Yusuf Pathan to take Knight Riders to a formidable total.

The home side scored 57 runs in the last five overs, but the effort was not sufficient to stop a gale force from winning the match for Royal Challengers.

Score board:

KKR: Jacques Kallis c Gayle b Vettori 40 (42b, 4x4), Brad Haddin c Kohli b Jamaluddin 18 (11, 2x4, 1x6), Gautam Gambhir c Dilshan b Arvind 48 (38b, 6x4), Yusuf Pathan c Kohli b Arvind 46 (24b, 3x4, 3x6), Eoin Morgan (run out) 6 (6b), Manoj Tiwary (not out) 0 (0b). Extras (W-12, NB-1) 13. Total (for 5 wkts, 20 overs) 171.

Fall of wickets: 1-44 (Haddin), 2-102 (Kallis), 3-139 (Gambhir), 4-169 (Yusuf), 5-171 (Morgan).

Bowling: Zaheer Khan 4-0-53-0 (w-7), Arvind 3-0-37-2 (w-3), Jamaluddin 4-0-20-1, Tillakaratne Dilshan 2-0-15-1 (w-1), Kohli 1-0-9-0, Vettori 4-0-28-1 (w-1), Gayle 2-0-9-0 (nb-1).

Scoring pattern: 5 overs: 44/1, 10: 76/1, 15: 114/2, End of Innings: 171/5 in 20 overs.
Runs during Power Play: 1-6: 50/1.

RCB:Tillakaratne Dilshan b Balaji 38 (31b, 6x4), Chris Gayle (not out) 102 (55b, 10x4, 7x6), Virat Kohli (not out) 30 (23b, 3x4, 1x6), Extras (W-5) 5. Total (for 1 wkt, 18.1 overs) 175.

Fall of wicket: 1-123 (Dilshan).

Bowling: Yusuf Pathan 3-0-25-0, L Balaji 4-0-43-1 (w-4), Jaidev Unadkat 3-0-24-0, Shakib al Hasan 2.1-0-29-0, Rajat Bhatia 3-0-28-0, Manoj Tiwary 1-0-14-0, Iqbal Abdulla 2-0-12-0.

Scoring pattern: 5 overs: 46/0, 10: 92/0, 15: 152/1, End of innings: 175/1 in 18.1 overs.
Runs during Power Play: 1-6: 57/0.

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