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IPL desk in Mumbai 10 May 2012 - 12:19am IST

Report: Match 54 – MI v RCB

Gayle, bowlers power Royal Challengers Bangalore to nine-wicket win in Mumbai

The race to the DLF IPL 2012 playoffs became even more competitive as the Royal Challengers Bangalore beat the Mumbai Indians to move into fourth position in the league standings. After a poor top-order performance from MI saw them post a below-par score of 141, Chris Gayle’s unbeaten 82 off 59 deliveries powered RCB to a nine-wicket win.

It was pacer R Vinay Kumar who did the early damage for RCB. After Virat Kohli, captaining the side in Daniel Vettori’s absence, opted to field first, Vinay Kumar struck twice in the second over to leave MI in all kinds of trouble at two for two. The RCB pacer had James Franklin (1) caught at thirdman by Zaheer Khan, while Rohit Sharma (0) was trapped lbw having faced three deliveries.

Sachin Tendulkar tried to bring MI back into the contest as he hit Vinay Kumar for three consecutive fours in the sixth over. The Mumbai legend, however, failed to convert his start into a long innings as he top-edged a delivery from Harshal Patel back to the bowler to give RCB their third breakthrough in the ninth over. Tendulkar made 24 and the hosts were 41 for three at the fall of his wicket. Patel followed up Tendulkar’s scalp with Ambati Rayudu’s (22) wicket; he was caught at long-off off a slower delivery in the 14th over.

MI’s situation worsened as Dinesh Karthik, who had walked out to bat at the fall of Sharma’s wicket, was out caught by Virat Kohli when he tried to hit Muttiah Muralitharan out of the park in the 16th over. Karthik, nonetheless, was the top-scorer in the MI innings, having scored 44 runs off 39 deliveries, which included three fours and a six. Muralitharan then had Dwayne Smith (2) caught at point the ball after Karthik’s dismissal to leave MI wobbling at 100 for six in 15.5 overs.

Late cameos by Kieron Pollard (21* off 13) and Harbhajan Singh (20* off 12), however, helped the hosts finish their innings with a flourish and go past the 140-run mark.

RCB had a relatively slow start to their innings as Chris Gayle and Tillakaratne Dilshan managed just 35 runs in the first six overs. MI, perhaps, lost the opportunity to put the visitors under pressure in this period as Dwayne Smith dropped Gayle when the opener looked to smash RP Singh over the ropes in the sixth over. Yet, with Dilshan (19) being trapped lbw by Pragyan Ojha in the ninth over and MI restricting their opponents to just 54 runs in the first 10 overs, the possibility of a close contest was unfolding at the Wankhede Stadium.

It was at this stage that Gayle broke the shackles. The West Indies batsman smote Ojha for three sixes in the 11th over before hitting Kieron Pollard for a couple of fours and a six in the 13th and 15th overs respectively. He brought up his half-century off just 36 deliveries, and with Virat Kohli giving him steady company, RCB got to their required target of 142 in 18 overs. Gayle remained unbeaten on 82, while Virat Kohli, who hit a six to bring up the winning score, remained not out on 36 (off 25 balls).

Scorecard

Man-of-the-match: Chris Gayle for his swashbuckling innings of 82* (59 balls; 5x4, 6x6)

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