Gayle finally finds form
KOLKATA, India (CMC):
Chris Gayle finally broke out of his wretched batting slump as the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) won their second straight game in three days, with a near effortless nine-wicket victory over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) here yesterday.
The visitors made mockery of a challenging total at Eden Gardens, chasing down 184 with eight deliveries to spare, with the left-handed Gayle stroking 49 off 31 deliveries.
For the Jamaica and West Indies superstar, it was his first double figure score since smashing an unbeaten 100 against England in the Twenty20 World Cup last March.
His form for RCB in the current IPL campaign has been troubling, with scores of 1, 0, 7, 5 and 6.
However, he ended his rut in style, crunching five fours and four sixes in putting on 71 for the first wicket with captain Virat Kohli, who hit a Man-of-the-Match unbeaten 75 off 51 deliveries.
AB de Villiers chimed in with an unbeaten 59 from 31 deliveries, posting 115 with Kohli in an unbroken second wicket stand.
The embattled Gayle signalled his intentions from as early as the second over with a pair of fours off seamer Morne Morkel and followed up in the next over with a pair of giants sixes off fellow Jamaica and West Indies teammate, Andre Russell.
He continued to play with gay abandon and looked poised to also rip into West Indies off-spinner Sunil Narine, when he was deceived by one that came back in from the right-armer and was lbw in the eighth over.
Narine's four overs cost 34 runs, while pacer Russell conceded 32 runs from two-and-a-half overs.
Earlier, Russell produced an electrifying cameo of 39 not out from 19 balls to help KKR up to 183 for five, after they were sent in.
Captain Gautam Gambhir (51) and Manish Pandey (50) put on 76 for the second wicket after Robin Uthappa (2) perished cheaply, before right-hander Russell arrived in the 14th over to blast two fours and three sides and dominate an unbroken sixth wicket stand of 58 with Shakib al Hasan, who finished unbeaten on 18.
With the win, RCB remained in play-off contention in fifth place on 12 points, just four points off leaders Sunrisers Hyderabad, while KKR lie second on 14 points.