Royal Challengers Bangalore put the brakes on their three-match losing streak after they defeated the Gujarat Lions by 21 runs in Match 20 of VIVO IPL 2017. Asked to bat first, RCB were powered by a century partnership between Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli to 213-2 – the highest total of the season. In the second half, the RCB bowlers defended the score by restricting the home side to 192-7.
Virat Kohli set the tone for RCB as he collected four boundaries off Dhawal Kulkarni and one off Basil Thampi in the first three overs. In the fourth over, Gayle collected a single off Basil Thampi to become the first batsman to score 10000 runs in T20 cricket.
With the burden of an impending milestone off his shoulder, the Jamaican opened up. The first ball after he had reached the milestone, the left-hander deposited a Thampi delivery into the stands behind the long-off boundary. There were a couple of quiet overs then as RCB reached 45-0 at the end of six overs.
Ravindra Jadeja was introduced into the attack in the eighth over, and Gayle tore into the spinner, collecting back-to-back boundaries and consecutive sixes. The left-hander should have been dismissed in that over when he miscued a wide delivery and Brendon McCullum took a stunning one-handed catch at long off; but after taking the catch,when McCullum tumbled over, the brim of his hat brushed the boundary cushion and it was ruled as a six.
Gayle brought up his half-century in the tenth over when he deposited Shivil Kaushik into the stands; the Jamaican got to the milestone off 23 balls. In the following over, he hit Dwayne Smith for two sixes – in the process bringing up the century opening stand.
The RCB openers were separated in the 13th over when Basil Thampi, bowling from round the stumps, landed a full delivery which Gayle missed while attempting to work through the leg side and was trapped LBW; the left-hander, who had struck five fours and seven sixes, made 77 from 38 balls.
Virat Kohli, who set the ball rolling, settled into playing second fiddle once Gayle took over. The RCB skipper played some exquisite strokes on both sides of the wicket and brought up his second half-century of the season; he made 64 from 50 balls, which included seven fours and a six before he hit Kulkarni down the throat of Dwayne Smith in the sixteenth over.
Cameos from Travis Head (30* from 16 balls) and Kedar Jadhav (38* from 16 balls), who added 54 runs in 4.1 overs, took RCB past the 200-run mark and eventually to 213-2 – the highest total of VIVO IPL 2017.
After learning that change of pace deliveries were hard to get score off, RCB handed the new ball to Pawan Negi and Yuzvendra Chahal. That move reaped rewards early on as Chahal picked up the wickets of Dwayne Smith and Suresh Raina in his first two overs and reduced the hosts to 37-2.
Not affected by the loss of wickets at the other end, Brendon McCullum slayed the RCB bowlers. The Kiwi batsman celebrated the 10th anniversary of the magnificent 158* he scored on the opening night of the Indian Premier League with a stroke-filled half-century; he reached fifty in style, depositing Negi into the stands behind square-leg. McCullum was briefly supported by the returning Aaron Finch, asthe third wicket pair added 66 runs before the latter was beaten in the air by Pawan Negi and stumped. Lions 103-3 in 9.4 overs.
McCullum carried on to make 72 before he became Chahal’s third victim in the bowler’s final over; the Lions opener had struck two boundaries and seven sixes during his 44-ball stay at the crease. Despite Ishan Kishan’s late heroics – the teenager smashed 39 from 16 balls, the Gujarat Lions could only reach 192-7.
The RCB bowlers were brilliant on the night. Negi wasn’t afraid to toss the ball up, extracted turn off the surface, and finished with figures of 1-21. Chahal’s three big scalps included Dwayne Smith, Raina and McCullum; the leg-spinner finished with figures of 3-31.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 213-2(Chris Gayle 77, Virat Kohli 64, Kedar Jadhav 38*, Travis Head 30*) beat Gujarat Lions: 192-7 (Brendon McCullum 72, Ishan Kishan 39, Yuzvendra Chahal3-31) by 21 runs
Man of the Match: Chris Gayle