Gayle hurricane wrecks Pune Warriors
Chris Gayle, yet again, demonstrated on Tuesday that he’s, currently, the best batsmen in Twenty20 cricket. Gayle blitzed match-winning 81 off 48 balls as Royal Challengers Banglore (RCB) overhauled the daunting total of 182 amassed by Pune Warriors India (PWI). AB de Villiers and Saurabh Tiwary chipped in with vital contributions towards the end.
Captain of PWI, Sourav Ganguly won the toss and elected to bat first. Robin Uthappa and Jesse Ryder opened the innings. Uthappa started the fire-works by smashing a six and the boundary in the second over of the innings bowled by Tillakratne Dilshan. Ryder joined him by cracking a couple of boundaries in the second over off Zaheer Khan.
Ryder continued to hammer boundaries and he thumped a six and a boundary, which came off the inside edge, in the fifth over bowled by Harshal Patel. PWI raced to 0-58 after six overs. Patel got his revenge in the next over when Ryder attempted to pull him out of the ground but he top-edged it and Mayank Agarwal took the catch.
KP Appanna, almost, dismissed Uthappa in his first over when Uthappa played the sweep and the ball appeared to have touched his gloves and wicket-keeper de Villiers took the catch, but the umpire turned down his appeal. Uthappa rubbed salt in his wounds by spanking him for a six over deep mid-wicket in the same over. Uthappa’s hammering expedition continued as he clubbed four boundaries in the next two overs and brought up his half-century.
Luck was favouring Uthappa as he was dropped by Appanna in the next over though it was a tough chance. The unlucky bowler, this time, was Vinay Kumar. V Kumar got some compensation by snaring Ganguly in the same over. Ganguly looked out-of-sorts during his stay at the crease and his bad run with the bat in this IPL continued.
Vettori nipped Uthappa out in 13th over as he played the cut and Patel took a fine catch at point. He made 69 off 45 balls. Only 12 runs came off 15th and 16th over due to the fall of Uthappa’s wicket and RCB hoped to contain PWI below 170.
But, Steven Smith and Samuels clobbered a six each in consecutive overs and though, Smith was out in 18th over, PWI were 4-164 after 18 overs. Vinay Kumar bowled a superb final over which only conceded seven runs and fetched the wicket of Angelo Matthews. PWI were 6-182 after 20 overs, their second highest in IPL.
RCB, arguably, have the best batting line-up among all the teams in IPL and they have the knack of chasing imposing totals. In form of Gayle and Dilshan, they have two of the most destructive opening batsmen of modern era but surprisingly their start was sedate. Ashok Dinda had Dilshan hopping around in the first over as he unsuccessfully attempted to pull him. Ashish Nehra, too, bowled a fine second over and RCB were 0-4 after two overs. Dinda finally had his man as Dilshan unleashed his famous Dil-scoop which went awry this time. The ball hit the helmet and wicket-keeper, Uthappa grabbed the simple catch.
Gayle hurricane set off in the fourth over as he bludgeoned a couple of sixes and a boundary on the last three balls of the overs bowled by Nehra. Marlon Samuels, whose action is under the scanner, was brought in the sixth over and he immediately prised out Mayank Agarwal for 9. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Samuels bowled well in tandem and fettered the RCB batsmen. Considering that Gayle and Virat Kohli were batting, it was no mean feat.
B Kumar’s first three overs only went for 16 runs while Samuels two overs fetched only 5 runs for RCB. After 10 overs, RCB were 2-63. When Matthews winkled out Kohli in the 12th over, RCB’s innings were in disarray and the chances of their victory were dimmed.
Gayle, as he had done it many-a-times, turned the course of the match in one over. The over was 13th, bowled by Rahul Sharma. Tiwary took single on the first ball and what happened on the next five balls would go down in the IPL history as one of the epic moments of the tournament. Gayle blasted five sixes on the trot with remorseless belligerence. The first six was hit towards long-off, second over deep square-leg, third one was the straight and flat, fourth was over long-on and hit a girl on the second-tier of the stadium. Fifth one sailed over deep square-leg. This is the first time, a batsman had hit five sixes in a row in a over. Gayle also surpassed Adam Gilchrist to register the feat of hitting maximum sixes in the IPL history.
Next two overs were subdued and only 10 runs were scored from them. In the 16th over, Gayle thwacked Nehra for a six over long-off but Nehra didn’t lose heart and bowled a searing yorker and castled Gayle on the next ball.
In the last four overs, 55 runs were needed and with Gayle departure, PWI looked set to win their fourth match of this IPL. But, de Villiers and Tiwary didn’t give up and continued the carnage sparked off by Gayle. Next two overs were clouted for 27 runs as de Villiers and Tiwary walloped a six and a boundary each. 19th over bowled by Dinda was an excellent one. Under pressure, Dinda showed tremendous composure and heart to pitch the ball up and right in the block-hole. Only seven runs could be rattled up in his over and RCB were left to knock off 21 runs in the final over.
Tiwary took the single off the first ball and gave strike to de Villiers. De Villiers, one of the best batsmen of modern era, tore Nehra into shreds by whacking him for the boundary on the second ball and then carted him for two thunderous sixes on the consecutive balls. First six was over mid-off on a low full-toss while the second one was off the sweep over fine-leg.
With four runs needed off 2 balls, match had swung in RCB’s favour. De Villiers could only manage a single off the second-last ball and Tiwary, bought for 1.6 million $, needed to score 3 runs off the final ball.
Nehra bowled a full toss which Tiwary dispatched for the six to seal the memorable victory for the RCB, their second win in five matches in IPL 5.
Brief Scorecard: Royal Challengers Bangalore 186 for 4 (Gayle 81, Tiwary 36*, de Villiers 33*) beat Pune Warriors 182 for 6 (Uthappa 69, Ryder 34, Samuels 34) by six wickets
Man-of-the-Match: Chris GayleTags: AB de Villiers . Ashish Nehra . chris gayle . IPL . Pune Warriors India (PWI) . Rahul Sharma . Royal Challengers Banglore (RCB) . Saurabh Tiwary . Sourav Ganguly
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