ESPNcricinfo – Chris Gayle’s 57-ball 117 propelled Royal Challengers to 226 before S Aravind and Mitchell Starc snuffed out Kings XI Punjab’s pursuit inside 14 overs. Save for a belated cameo from Axar Patel, there was flimsy resistance from the visitors as they folded up 138 runs short. The defeat all but ended Kings XI’s chances of making the playoffs.
Kings XI sleepwalked through the chase, losing half their side inside the Powerplay, the second-most in any IPL season. Manan Vohra was removed after David Wiese dived full stretch at cover to get his fingers under the ball. Thereafter, Kings XI’s batsmen came unstuck, with seven of them bowled.
Aravind, playing his first IPL game in three years, and Starc moved the ball both ways, and exploited the batsmen’s lack of feet movement to pick up four wickets each. Kings XI appeared to reel from the after-shocks of Gayle’s assault, and they looked in no shape to chase down the target right from the outset.
George Bailey had joked after inserting Royal Challengers that he didn’t want to be chasing 250. But Gayle’s icy authority, aided by Kings XI’s shabby fielding, meant they weren’t going to be chasing a lot fewer anyway.
The first over of the match provided little clue of what was to come. Sandeep Sharma went past Gayle’s bat thrice and gave away only a run. But Gayle was to make up for it in the remaining 16 overs he would spend at the crease. Mitchell Johnson was driven and clipped for 20 runs – his most expensive over in T20 cricket. Gayle was minimalist with his footwork, smacking anything in his hitting range down the ground. Among the 12 sixes and seven fours though, the standout was the one that was the least brutish: a constricted backfoot punch off Sandeep Sharma that screamed to the long off boundary.
However, he did provide a chance in the third over, but Bailey, running at full tilt from mid off, couldn’t latch on to it. Gayle could have been dismissed on 53 as well, when he whipped Axar’s first delivery, but Vohra spilled a sitter at deep square leg.
Thereafter it was a case of cruising from one milestone to another. Gayle became the first overseas player to score 3000 runs in the IPL, half of which have come at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. By bringing up his 14th century – the most in T20 cricket – in 46 balls, he also completed the fastest hundred of IPL 2015.
Royal Challengers, who became the first team to score 100 inside ten overs twice this season, more than doubled their tally in the second half. Even as Gayle was dismissed, AB de Villiers brought out his own variety of audacious swipes and reverse ramps to ensure the attack was relentless. By the time they were done, Kings XI were left with scarring memories of everything that had gone wrong for them this season. And the night would only get worse.
Scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 226 for 3 (Gayle 117, de Villiers 47*) beat Kings XI Punjab 88 (Axar 40*, Starc 4-15, Aravind 4-27) by 138 runs.
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