The gangling left-hander’s fireworks add to Ugadi festivity; Gambhir’s knock goes in vain
Chris Gayle lived up to his domineering reputation and Royal Challengers Bangalore reaped the benefits here on a festive Thursday at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
The opener’s pulse-pounding unbeaten 85 (50b, 4x4, 9x6) guided RCB to an eight-wicket victory over Kolkata Knight Riders in an IPL match that turned out to be a perfect Ugadi outing for the local fans.
Chasing KKR’s 154 for eight, RCB finished with 158 for two in 17.3 overs. RCB needed Gayle to fire and he did precisely that to shut the visitors out of the contest. Gayle’s early appetisers came through a four and a six off Ryan McLaren.
The speedster, who replaced Brett Lee in the KKR line-up, suffered more bruises in a subsequent over as Gayle struck two consecutive sixes, the last one sailing high despite the batsman not being in control of the shot!
Though his opening partner Mayank Agarwal fell early, Gayle continued his merry ways and his aggression was also supplemented by skipper Virat Kohli (35), who slammed two sixes off Pradeep Sangwan besides tucking into a McLaren over that went for 22 runs.
Needless drama also sullied the game when a retreating Kohli, following his dismissal by L. Balaji, got embroiled in an argument with his incensed counterpart Gautam Gambhir.
Gayle, however, rained his sky-scraping shots and while men like Jacques Kallis and L. Balaji sulked in their follow-throughs, RCB cruised ahead in style with A.B. de Villiers joining the carnage in an unfinished 83-run third-wicket partnership.
Earlier, Gambhir’s (59) return to his impetuous ways, guided KKR’s batting stint. Having seen fellow-opener Manvinder Bisla perish in the very first over, Gambhir was a bundle of nervous energy in the second over bowled by R.P. Singh.
He got nearly run-out but immediately found relief through two fours off the left-arm seamer.
Gambhir then flicked Moises Henriques and when Muttiah Muralitharan was pressed into service, the southpaw greeted the off-spinner with a four over covers.
Though Kallis failed to build on a reasonably good start, Gambhir remained in his element while also playing second-fiddle during Yusuf Pathan’s cameo (27).
Yusuf clattered three fours off R. Vinay Kumar and deposited a Jaydev Unadkat delivery into the mid-wicket fence. Yusuf eventually holed out against Henriques.
The same bowler also felt the heat of Gambhir’s bat as the KKR skipper moved a shade across and scooped a four past square-leg. Gambhir then hooked Unadkat for six but his dismissal in the 17th over (124 for four) inexplicably led to a collapse while Manoj Tiwary tried to cement the breach.
After Gambhir’s exit, KKR lost four wickets and mustered 30 runs off 22 balls. That meltdown came back to haunt it later in the night.
Kohli and Gambhir, who had an altercation after the former’s dismissal, have received an official warning and reprimand for breaching the Code of Conduct.
They admitted to the Level 1 offence (Article 2.1.4) of using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during the match.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Manvinder Bisla c Rahul b Henriques 1 (5b), Gautam Gambhir c & b Vinay 59 (46b, 7x4, 1x6), Jacques Kallis c Henriques b Vinay 16 (19b, 2x4), Yusuf Pathan c Vinay b Henriques 27 (17b, 3x4, 1x6), Manoj Tiwary c de Villiers b R.P. Singh 23 (16b, 2x4), Eoin Morgan c (sub) Christian b R.P. Singh 2 (5b), Rajat Bhatia b R.P. Singh 13 (7b, 2x4), Ryan McLaren (run out) 2 (3b), Pradeep Sangwan (not out) 4 (2b, 1x4), Sunil Narine (not out) 1 (1b); Extras (lb-3, nb-1, w-2): 6. Total (for eight wkts., in 20 overs): 154.
Fall of wickets: 1-3 (Bisla), 2-54 (Kallis), 3-95 (Yusuf), 4-124 (Gambhir), 5-132 (Morgan), 6-135 (Tiwary), 7-149 (McLaren), 8-149 (Bhatia).
Royal Challengers Bangalore bowling: Henriques 4-0-24-2, R.P. Singh 4-0-27-3, Unadkat 4-0-34-0, Muralitharan 4-0-30-0, Vinay 4-0-36-2.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Chris Gayle (not out) 85 (50b, 4x4, 9x6), Mayank Agarwal c Bisla b McLaren 6 (8b, 1x4), Virat Kohli c Morgan b Balaji 35 (27b, 4x4, 2x6), AB de Villiers (not out) 22 (22b, 2x4, 1x6); Extras (nb-2, w-8): 10. Total (for two wkts., in 17.3 overs): 158.
Fall of wickets: 1-12 (Agarwal), 2-75 (Kohli).
Kolkata Knight Riders bowling: McLaren 3-0-34-1, Kallis 4-1-30-0, Narine 4-0-17-0, Balaji 3.3-0-33-1, Sangwan 2-0-34-0, Bhatia 1-0-10-0.