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A nightmare for sloppy Knights

He came, he saw, he conquered. Chris Gayle was the only name on every lip Friday evening at the Eden Gardens...

He came, he saw, he conquered. Chris Gayle was the only name on every lip Friday evening at the Eden Gardens, as the former Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) recruit and the newest inclusion in the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) armoury single-handedly guided the Bangalore outfit to a nine-wicket win.

He took to the Eden wicket, as a duck takes to water hitting a sterling 102 off 55 balls. Knowing Gayle and his track record none of it was surprising. The Windies left-hander had smashed an unbeaten 88 off 42 balls (with six fours and eight sixes) against Kings XI Punjab playing in the KKR colours last season.

Seven super sixes and ten breathtaking boundaries — explosive is the only way to describe Gayle’s inaugural innings for his new franchise, which also saw him win the Man of the Match award.

Gayle dented the Knights’ bowling attack with smash hits, one of which reached the corporate box in the K-block. Chasing a 172-run target, he, however, started on a controlled footing, letting fellow opener Tillekaratne Dilshan start the process with a couple of boundaries. But it was not long before there were fireworks from his bat, and once the carnival started, there was no stopping. Lakshmipathy Balaji was the only KKR bowler to make an inroad into the seemingly invincible RCB batting front. He bowled Dilshan in the 13th over. But by then it was a case of too little, too late.

In the hindsight, the Knight Riders could have introduced the in-form Iqbal Abdulla earlier, than in the 16th over. If not for anything, just for variation’s sake.

Virat Kohli who came in to the crease at the fall of Dilshan’s wicket, chipped in with three boundaries and a six to add 30 runs off 23 balls.

The crowd who believed that the forecasted rain and thunderstorm could be the only obstacle in way of KKR’s victory, never expected them to be swept away by the Gayle-force. It was mostly stunned silence they could come up with.

The penultimate over saw Kohli pay respect to the West Indian’s brilliance, as he kept blocking to put Gayle on strike and let him score his century, and, in the process, hit the winning runs. And Gayle did finish it off in style, aiming for nothing less than a boundary, thereby completing his hundred too.

The Eden pitch was a surprise. After a couple of low-scoring matches, the 22-yard strip was more helpful to the batsmen.

Two things stood out during the first half — the return to form of the blistering KKR duo of Jacques Kallis and Gautam Gambhir, and Zaheer Khan’s wayward performance.

After choking in the last two matches, Kallis scored a smart 40 off 42 deliveries that included four boundaries.

He was ably assisted by skipper Gautam Gambhir who added 48 off 38. With three fours and an equal number of sixes, Yusuf Pathan finally did well with the bat, before being dismissed by a brilliant catch by Kohli.

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Latest comments

KKR Smashed out by Gayle
kiran0520 on 24 Apr 2011, 08:45 PM
Kush on 24 Apr 2011, 04:40 AM
The brutal Gayle Force..!!
czech on 24 Apr 2011, 02:11 AM
KKR thought that after making 171 they had match in their hands , but RCB had some other plans and we executed the plans very well and won it in the end.
aka on 24 Apr 2011, 12:33 AM