When Chris Gayle’s bat starts singing, its musical rhapsody can drown everything in its wake. The giant West Indian has the capability of ransacking bowlers of all hues. He showed that in the World Cup on February 24, 2015, when he tore apart Zimbabwean bowlers to shreds in scoring a whirlwind 215 in 147 balls. Ever since he began playing for RCB, he has scored 5 out of 6 hundreds that have come from RCB batsmen. When George Bailey won the toss last Wednesday, he chose to field and out came Gayle and Kohli to open the innings for the home team. The first-wicket stand produced 119, in which Kohli’s contribution was just 32. Gayle kept going at the other end until the 17th over and his 57-ball 117 lifted RCB to 226/3. AB de Villiers’ 24-ball unbeaten 47 went unnoticed as everything revolved around the rampaging West Indian. The victory target of 227 was too monumental for KXIP, who have lost their way this season after a phenomenal show in IPL 2014. While the batting deluge created by Gayle had already half-drowned KXIP, the massacre was completed by Sreenath Aravind and Mitchell Starc, each of whom claimed 4 scalps in their 8-over spell that yielded a combined 42 runs. It was one of the most forgettable display from the Kings Eleven, accompanied by a 138-run defeat with more than 6 overs remaining in their innings.
George Bailey couldn’t have foreseen what awaited him in the match as he won the toss and asked RCB to bat first. This season, RCB have won many matches without Gayle but on Wednesday, the big West Indian struck form from the second over onwards. The mandatory 6-over power play produced 68 runs and Gayle raced to his 22-ball 50 that included 4 fours and 5 sixes. Kohli was merely a spectator at the other end enjoying and watching his partner butcher the KXIP bowlers. To their credit, Sandeep Sharma beat Gayle three times in the first over and yielded just one run. But once Gayle found his bearings, he cut loose in his inimitable way. He chose Mitchell Johnson for a special treatment, clobbering the Australian seamer for 20 runs. It was the most expensive T20 over, Johnson has ever bowled. Gayle relied on his muscle power and eye play with no inkling of footwork.. There was a chance in third over but Bailey couldn’t latch on to a Gayle skier at mid-off. There was another chance when Gayle was on 53 but Manan Vohra dropped a sitter at deep square leg. Gayle took such spilled chances in his wake and continued hammering the bowlers until he fell to a caught-and-bowled effort from Axar Patel in the 17th over. By that time RCB had reached 190/2 and Gayle had scored 117 runs in 57 balls with 7 fours and 12 sixes. After Gayle’s departure, AB de Villiers carried on to take RCB to a massive 226/3 with his own score reading 47 off 24.
The chase of 227 was never going to end in KXIP’s favor as they started disastrously. Mitchell Starc removed Manan Vohra in the first over and Harshal Patel claimed Murali Vijay in the third. After that came Sreenath Aravind, who had played his last IPL game three years ago. He swung the ball both ways and created havoc by getting rid of the once-dangerous Maxwell, Wriddhiman Saha, David Miller and George Bailey in quick succession. Except Saha, other batsmen were clean bowled by Aravind. In the 8th over, KXIP were tottering at a shameful 39/6. Once Aravind was through, Starc began his stint of clean-bowling the batsmen. He shattered the woodworks of Mitchell Johnson, Anureet Singh and Karanveer Singh as KXIP came on the brink at 65/9 in the 11th over. The 10th wicket was best stand for KXIP, in which Yazuvendra Chahal and Sandeep Sharma added 23 runs. KXIP were bundled out for 88 in the 14th over and while the Bangaloreans enjoyed the match in the stadium, TV viewers found it difficult to sit through the extremely one-sided contest.
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