RCB Slaughter KKR at Eden Gardens – Gayle at Helm of Affairs
The Royal Challengers Bangalore were smarting from their earlier failures, not to mention a frustrating rain-off against the Rajasthan Royals at home. KKR would feel their full wrath
As a movie, it could have been aptly titled like the thriller ‘Demolition Man,’ except that the man Chris Gayle remotely resembles, Wesley Snipes, all of 6 feet 4 inches and pure muscle was the antagonist. Here, the hunky West Indian played the ‘hero’s’ role to perfection, carrying his bat through in the opener’s role to score 102 with 7 sixes and 10 fours.
RCB demolished the Gambhir led side in a reminiscence of how team India had recently chased down the World Cup final score against Sri Lanka of 275 in the 50 over format. Set a just over par score of 171 in this T20 match, they let their fresh import Chris Gayle go on the rampage but the innings also contained balls where he gave the dot ball its due respect.
Why this seems like a team strategy is that Tilakaratne Dilshan, his opening partner, never tried to match him. He proved the ideal foil in showing ‘one solid end’ to the bowlers and at one state of the innings had only 38 runs to his name while Gayle 78.
For RCB coach Ray Jennings, team mentor Kumble, bowling coach Venky Prasad, not to mention assistant coach Jono, this match will be a huge relief as the men in red attempt to dismantle other teams. When plunderers like Chris eschew belligerence, other teams get jittery because men like are even more dangerous than those who come out all guns blazing. Team coaches of other franchises will also note that his ‘20th row’ sixes at long on came off the back foot, never mind that the pitch may favour batters’ or be a ‘true’ one.
For RCB fans, who were mostly watching on TV, perhaps expected was a ‘regular win’ but this match was a dose of steroids. If this is the refreshingly domineering approach that the Daniel Vettori led side is to adopt for the rest of the tourney, it undoes all the mediocrity of the previous three (out of five) matches.
Even more avid RCB fans would note that their only success thus far, against Kochi Tuskers Kerala, was triggered by a late burst from AB de Villiers. The match had seemed even, perhaps even drifted towards the Kochi side in the 35th over of the total 40-over contest. Friday’s match was like the perfect script of a Bollywood flick, winning over RCB audiences across the country. It might even have won over some Kolkata Knight Rider supporters who witnessed sixes being hit into the 30th row of the stands.
As an RCB fan, you’re almost tempted to say that you enjoyed the KKR team putting on a 171, what with a semi or mostly-fit Yusuf Pathan hitting those 3 sixes. How else would you get the benefit of Chris Gayle’s huge hitting?
Credit must also go to RCB’s bowlers and fielders who let very little slip. Daniel Vettori induced a shot from the dangerous looking Jacques Kallis to be caught by a diving and outstretched, who else, Chris Gayle! However, that was after debutant Syed Mohammed’s left arm orthodox spin dismissed opener Haddin early in the innings.
Again, the refreshing aspect of RCB’s chase was when Dilshan fell at the team score of 123 (with plenty overs to chase 171 comfortably) big hitting Kolhi did not go hell for leather. He proceeded to ‘dismantle’ the field by getting twos in gaps and forcing KKR skipper Gambhir to think about getting his fielders inside. Then came some lofted boundaries from the India star. It was a superb execution of the plot just to demonstrate ‘what else’ the Challengers were capable off.
For RCB, it’s now ‘Chalo Dilli,’ ('let's go to Delhi') where they go head on with the Sehwag side and conquer one more frontier.