IPL desk in Mumbai 12 May 2012 - 01:00am IST
Report: Match 57 - PWI v RCB
Gayle-powered Royal Challengers beat Pune Warriors India by 35 runs
After PWI’s 22-year-old stand-in skipper, Steven Simth, opted to bowl first, debutant pacer Krishnakant Upadhyay – who took Ashish Nehra’s place in the playing XI – opened the bowling with Alfonso Thomas – who came in for Wayne Parnell. Although only three runs came off the first over, Chris Gayle cut loose in the third over and clobbered Upadhyay for sixes over extra-over and long-on. During his whirlwind 31-ball 57-run knock the Orange Cap holder cleared the fence six times and hit three fours. Gayle’s (57 off 31 balls) knock ended when he found Manish Pandey upon attempting to send Angelo Mathews over the ropes. At the end of the 80-run opening stand, Challengers’ captain, Virat Kohli, came to the crease, but returned after adding only nine runs. He was caught at short extra-cover by Smith off Rahul Sharma, who came into the side for Murali Kartik.
However, Tillakaratne Dilshan anchored the innings as he so often has. His 53-run innings ended in an unfortunate run-out at the non-striker’s end with Alfonso Thomas flicking the bails off in his follow-through after Saurabh Tiwary hit the ball back to the bowler. That brought out AB de Villers with just 16 deliveries left in the innings. With Tiwary remaining unbeaten on 36 and de Villiers on nine, RCB reached 173 in their 20 overs.
During PWI’s run-chase, Zaheer Khan struck in the first over, trapping Mohnish Mishra lbw. A ball later, the left-arm pacer uprooted Pandey’s off-stump. With two wickets gone with just four runs on the board, Robin Uthappa came out to join Michael Clarke in the middle. Couple of overs later the hosts suffered another big blow as the Australian skipper attempted to send Vinay Kumar over long-on only to be caught by Tiwary near the ropes. Uthappa and Anustup Majumdar then built a 50-run partnership, but a while later, veteran off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan had the former stumped for 38. And with the wicketkeeper batsman back in the hut, the hosts were four down for just 72; with 102 runs still to get, it was a difficult ask for them.
KP Appanna then followed up with the wicket of Mathews (4), and with half the side back in the dugout, Smith came to the crease. The home team kept losing wickets at regular intervals and were unable to build partnerships. Majumdar was the next to depart; a forward diving catch by Zaheer Khan off Harshal Patel in the short extra-cover region ended his valiant 31-run knock. In the next over, Muralitharan rattled Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s woodwork off his last delivery to finish with two scalps for 16 runs.
With the match virtually in their bag, Vinay Kumar yorked Thomas and then castled Rahul Sharma for a duck. With nine gone, Smith and Upadhyay ensured that the Warriors weren’t bowled out and remained unbeaten on 24 on 11 respectively. But due to this loss, PWI are now out of playoff contention.
Man-of-the-Match: Chris Gayle for his blistering knock of 57 (3x4; 6x6) off 31 deliveries