Gayle and Chahal star in RCB's win
By Krunal Gandhi, MyCricketHighlights Cricket Writer
20th Match: Gujarat Lions vs Royal Challengers Bangalore at S.C.A Stadium, Rajkot, April 18 - 2017, Cricket Highlights.
213.. yes that's what the RCB managed to get in their 20 overs - the highest total in this year's IPL so far. And the Challengers needed only four men to accumulate such a massive total. One of those was the Universe Boss - Chris Gayle.
The big Jamaican, who had a pretty mediocre IPL season up until this match, was back to his dominating best. And when Gayle gets going, there is hardly any bowler in this world who can stop him. This time around, it were the Gujarat Lions’ bowlers who were on the receiving end, as they were thrashed to all parts of the park by the opening duo of Gayle and Kohli. Speaking of Kohli, it was smart batting from the RCB captain. Seeing his partner toying with the opposition’s bowlers, he focussed on giving the maximum of the strike to the big man.
When Gayle Storm strikes, one thing can be assured and that's plenty of sixes and entertainment. In his knock of 77, he smashed 7 sixes, couple of which went out of the park. He also became the first player to breach the 10000 run-mark in T20 cricket. Take a bow, Christopher Henry Gayle… you truly are the Boss of the Universe in this format!!
The opening partnership helped the Challengers to get over 120 runs in 12 overs. Suresh Raina and team desperately required a breakthrough at this stage and the same was provided by Basil Thampi, who got rid of Gayle with a terrific delivery. Despite the fall of the wicket, the run-rate didn't slow down as Kohli and Head continued to score the runs at a brisk pace. Kohli also brought up his 28th half-century of IPL as the visitors looked all set for a blazing finish.
Even though Kohli got out at the 16th over mark, the pair of Kedar Jadhav (38*) and Travis Head (30) ensured that their team finishes with a bang as they rack up 47 runs in the last 3 overs and helped their team post such a colossal total.
If the Gujarat Lions had to win the match, they needed to chase down the record target of 214. Their start was horrible as they lost Dwayne Smith early in the second over. After that, there was a brief cameo from Suresh Raina, who scored 23 off just 8 balls, before being dismissed by Yuzvendra Chahal - the leggie picking up his second.
The Lions were up with the required run-rate, but what they really needed was a big partnership. The same was provided by McCullum and Finch, who added 66 runs for the third wicket and that too at a really good pace. Out of the 66, 47 came off McCullum’s bat, who continued his fine form and kept smashing the ball to all corners of the park.
The hosts needed the partnership to continue for a few more overs, but that didn't happen as Negi broke the stand by sending Finch back to the pavilion. In the very next over, Gujarat lost their in-form batsman, Dinesh Karthik, and as a result lost a bit of momentum in the middle overs.
80 runs were required off the last 6 overs and as long as Baz was out there, they were hopeful of pulling off this implausible looking chase. Virat Kohli knew this and brought into the attack his most successful bowler, in Yuzvendra Chahal. It was a gamble by the RCB skipper, which paid off, as Chahal picked up his third and the most important wicket, that of McCullum.
Last 4 overs were left and GL needed another 68 runs to win the match. At the crease were Ravindra Jadeja and Ishan Kishan. While the former found it difficult to get the ball away to the boundary, the latter was doing it with utmost ease. Firstly, he smacked Aravind and Head for a couple of sixes and then in the last over of Aravind, hammered him for 20 odd runs. His blitzkrieg (39 off just 15) had brought the equation down to 26 off the final over. Difficult but not impossible!
What the Lions really required was Ishan to get back on the strike asap. However, by the time he got the strike, the match had already slipped away from their hands. They came close in chasing down the monumental target, but in the end, fell 21 runs short.
With this win, the RCB have climbed 2 positions up to the 6th spot, while the Lions have dropped to the bottom of the table.