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IPL desk in Mumbai 18 May 2012 - 12:07am IST

Report: Match 67 – DD v RCB

Gayle century hands RCB crucial 21-run away win over DD

The Royal Challengers Bangalore arrived in New Delhi faced with a must-win battle against the top-ranked side of IPL 2012. As it turned out, the Delhi Daredevils were not up against the whole team but just one man – Christopher Henry Gayle. And Gayle won the duel hands down with his third IPL century and the first in this season. As a result, RCB remain alive and kicking in the race for the playoffs with a 21-run victory against DD.

To counter the Gayle assault, the Daredevils needed the icy-cool swagger of Virender Sehwag. However, the skipper had to give the game a miss due to illness. Unmukt Chand (18) opened the batting with David Warner (15), who failed to make a big impact. Stand-in skipper Jayawardene looked edgy and perished for nine.

In walked Ross Taylor, who has struggled right through the tournament to get few runs under his belt. The Kiwi batsman finally broke the shackles and batted himself into form. After getting off to an edgy start, he resorted to his favourite shot – the sweep – to get among the runs. Taylor played the shot to good effect, and brought up his half-century with a stunning midwicket heave off Muttiah Muralitharan. RCB captain Virat Kohli then deployed three men between the square-leg and midwicket region to counter that shot. Taylor eventually perished in the deep off a Vinay Kumar delivery. Andre Russell came in and smashed the ball around a bit, as did Irfan Pathan. But DD could only manage 194 for nine in reply to RCB’s mammoth 215 for one.

Earlier, despite resting their best fast bowler, Morne Morkel, the Daredevils decided to play to their strength and put RCB in to bat. Varun Aaron started well by dismissing Tillakaratne Dilshan in the third over. But after that, there was no respite for the DD bowlers as Gayle and Kohli went on an all-out attack. Together, they put up unbeaten 204 runs in 17.4 overs for the second wicket.

Gayle was at his very best, annihilating any bowler that came his way. His 128 not out came off 62 balls and was laced with 13 sixes and seven fours. During his epic innings, he smacked three sixes in an over on two separate occasions. Irfan Pathan was the victim the first time and the second bowler to suffer this fate was left-arm spinner Pavan Negi. Such was the power Gayle exerted that towards the end, his shoulders began to cramp because of all the big hitting.

Kohli, who has had a quiet tournament by his standards so far, chose the perfect occasion to strike form. He looked in fine touch, placing and timing the ball with precision and grace. He played some delightful cricketing strokes whenever opportunity presented itself. While his Jamaican partner was all brute force, Kohli (73 off 53 balls) concentrated on timing and placement to pierce the gaps in the field.

Scorecard:

Man-of-the-Match:
Chris Gayle for scoring 128 off 62 balls, which was also his first century in IPL 2012

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