IPL desk in Mumbai 21 April 2012 - 12:04am IST
Report: Match 25 – KXIP vs RCB
Gayle, de Villiers star in Royal Challengers Bangalore’s triumph over Kings XI Punjab
RCB bowlers backed their skipper’s decision to bowl first by picking up key wickets. Debutant Nitin Saini’s off-stump was shaken by Zaheer Khan, who came round the wicket to the opener and got an inside edge that dislodged the bails. In his next over, the left-arm pacer sent back Paul Valthaty. The opener went for a shot over mid-off only to find AB de Villers, who had handed the wicketkeeping gloves to KB Arun Karthik for this match.
A couple of overs later, Shaun Marsh was castled by Andrew McDonald, who had replaced Tillakaratne Dilshan in the side. In absence of Adam Gilchrist, who missed the game due a hamstring injury, it was crucial for the in-form Shaun Marsh to stay at the crease. The No.3 batsman once again looked in good nick as he timed the ball well on the way to his 17-ball 26 that included a six over McDonald’s head earlier in the innings.
With three wickets down for 57 runs, David Miller came out to join the stand-in captain, David Hussey, who is one of the most experienced campaigners in Twenty20 cricket. But McDonald, who bowled his quota on the trot, sent back the debutant in his last over to finish with two wickets.
Running out of time, Hussey decided to go after Harshal Patel and was dropped by Chris Gayle, who was running backwards, off the second ball. But after conceding 11 runs off the first five balls, the bowler uprooted Hussey’s middle stump off the last ball of the same over.
With five overs left and five men down and 105 runs on the board, Azhar Mahmood came to the crease and bludgeoned RCB’s attack. Playing his first game in the IPL, the 37-year-old breathed life into the host’s innings with a 14-ball 33-run cameo. He smashed Patel for a four over mid-off and six over square-leg as KXIP collected 13 runs off that over. In the next over, Mahmood hit Vinay Kumar for a couple of boundaries.
The hosts picked 14 runs off that over. Though Zaheer Khan was not smashed around like his teammates, he conceded 10 runs in the penultimate over. Bowling the last over, Vinay dismissed Mandeep Singh off the first ball, but Mahmood and Piyush Chawal gleaned 14 runs off it.
Defending 163, Parvinder Awana dealt a double blow in the second over claiming Mayank Agarwal and Virat Kohli to leave RCB reeling at eight for two. Bowling a tight spell, the pacer struck again three overs later to send back Saurabh Tiwary. After Tiwary top-edged only to find the keeper’s gloves, de Villiers joined Chris Gayle at the crease. Although they were three wickets down, the visitors still had two of their best batsmen at the crease. The duo went about the task meticulously milking runs off the KXIP bowlers, and they ensured that they didn’t lose any more wickets before putting their side in a dominating position.
The home team failed to capitalize on the early breakthroughs, and RCB cruised towards the target with ease. Although he didn’t smash the bowlers early on, Gayle he did play big shots later to keep the pressure on the home team. He was ably supported by de Villiers, who scored prolifically at the other end. Even as the visitors inched towards the victory, Awana inserted drama into the game with the wicket of Chris Gayle to finish with a four-for, while Chawla trapped de Villiers (52 off 39 balls) lbw in the 19th over. Before being caught by Hussey at extra-cover, Gayle hit 87 (4x6, 8x4) off 56 balls.
McDonald and Vettori then took RCB across the line with the former hitting a boundary off Mahmood to seal the win.
Man-of-the-Match: Chris Gayle for scoring 87 runs off 56 balls, including eight fours and four sixes