Royal Challengers Bangalore registered a 21 run win over Gujarat Lions in a battle among the sides languishing at the bottom of the table. Chris Gayle’s 77 off just 38 balls was the highlight of the match before the RCB spinners thwarted a spirited knock of 72 by McCullum. With this win, RCB moved upto sixth position with 4 points while Lions are placed last. Virat Kohli also played a handsome innings of 64 and RCB posted a mammoth total of 213 with Lions only managing to get to 192.
Rajkot has always been a batting paradise but the wicket was on a slightly slower side. Suresh Raina won the toss and decided to bowl first. Slower deliveries were the order of the day and the RCB openers got off to a ordinary start. Gayle took few balls to shrug off the nervous 9999 and he became the first batsman to score 10000 runs in T20 career. Kohli and Gayle managed just 36 off first 5 overs with wristy Kohli hitting 3 successive fours off Kulkarni to get the momentum going.
And then the Gayle storm started to took over. Jadeja and Kaushik became the first victims. A straight missile went whistling in an ear of umpire. A smash towards mid-off, a huge heave over the square leg and then came a moment when Jadeja thought he had his man. McCullum took a brilliant diving catch at long on but the replays showed that his round hat has brushed the boundary rope (Topi kar gyi chull). Gayle completed his 50 in style with a biggie that sailed over the stadium. He congratulated his bat, sprinkled it with some Gujarat ki maati and Kohli did a champion dance for him.
Such was the confidence of Gayle that he even ran 2 to get back on strike. He made a “durgati” of bowlers and Dwayne Smith could only watch as Gayle stood and delivered two huge Yes Bank maximums (nothing can beat that BSNL chakkas). Basil Thampi managed to get one right up to the toe and the big man departed. It was the turn of Kohli to take over. A glamorous cover drive off Jadeja and a stylish six over mid on off Kaushik made us hate the shoulder injury that kept him away (remember tennis elbow of the Master Blaster).
Virat trying to up the ante got out to a slower delivery by Kulkarni (he has dismissed him 4 times in IPL now). Travis Head (no ABD today) and Kedar Jadhav finished the innings with some breathtaking strokes. Jadhav particularly has become a go-to man for RCB in the death overs clearing the boundary with ease (Chota Packet Bada Dhamaka). RCB hammered 35 runs in the last 2 overs and such a big total was never going to be easy to chase for even a famed batting line-up of Gujarat Lions.
Virat gave the starting honours to Pawan Negi who gave away only 1 off the first over. Yuzvendra Chahal got the dangerous man Smith in the next over. Suresh Raina walked in and decided to take the matter in his hands. He hit two big sixes and just when it seemed that it could be Raina’s day, Chahal got him caught at short fine leg. Brendon McCullum started to cut loose. Adam Milne, brought in for Tymal Mills and Watson bore the brunt of McCullum prowess.
Kohli once again turned to Negi for wickets and he did not disappoint as Aaron Finch went for a walk and got stumped. S Aravind hit McCullum right on the money (god bless the Abdomen Guard Maker) and then Dinesh Karthik couldn’t read a slower one and holed an easy catch to Kohli. McCullum ensured the required run rate was within reach with some power hitting over sight screen and square leg.
With only one over remaining of his spell, Chahal was brought in by the RCB Captain. McCullum swept one off the ground which got the elevation but not the distance and Head gladly received it. Chahal finished with figures of 3 for 31 off 4 overs. Ishan Kishan did provide some fireworks with clean hits over the fence and Kohli did drop 2 catches at long on. But the wicket of McCullum took the sheen off Lions roar and with 26 required off last over, Adam Milne made sure that RCB got home. Gujarat Lions are waiting for Bravo to come back from injury and RCB gained some momentum with their batters and spinners back in form.