Gayle takes off, lifts RCB to 51 run win
The Royal Challengers Bangalore kept their 2011 CLT20 campaign alive, surging to a 51 run victory against Somerset at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.
Beginning with Chris Gayle, the Royal Challengers batting unit had underperformed with the bat so far in the tournament, even prompting Coach Ray Jennings to select some heavier bats to help them clear the boundaries regardless of their timing. To their credit, the team had still posted scores of 170+ so far. Tonight he clicked, and when the big Caribbean King of Cool clicks he can be a sight to behold.
Gayle began sedately, considering the tricky situation RCB were in at the beginning of the match, letting Dilshan go after the bowling. Both survived chances early in the game, Gayle survived twice by the time he was on 8 and he went on to make it count. Virat Kohli was timing it perfectly after Dilshan’s dismissal but Gayle took over from there, thrashing Irish prodigy George Dockrell, punishing Peter Trego and even the wily Murali Kartik, making 86 with eight 6s and four 4s.
Kohli, Tiwary, Agarwal and Arun Karthik all chipped in with important runs. The flurry of wickets at the end meant that RCB fell about 15 runs short of what they had initially looked good for but 206 was always going to be a tough total regardless of the size of the boundaries.
Peter Trego and Craig Kieswetter started opportunistically, chancing leg byes and thick edges over the slips before Kieswetter took on the bowlers. Vettori came on to bowl the fifth over and despite conceding 10 runs off it, removed Kieswetter and the equally lethal Roelof van der Merwe.
With the base of a quick start provided, Trego and James Hildreth set about building the chase. Hildreth survived an early chance off Vettori, being dropped at long on by Bhatkal and he took no more chances, letting his partner cut loose. Trego paid back Gayle in the same coin when the latter came to bowl the 10th over, smashing him for 24 runs including a couple of 4s and 6s.
At 102/2 after 10 overs their chances of chasing 206 suddenly looked very real prompting Vettori to bring back Nannes and the pacer obliged with the wicket of Hildreth. Jos Buttler has a reputation of being a big hitter but even he couldn’t get going and was removed by Aravind immediately upon his return. Tight bowling from Rajoo Bhatkal ensured that the brakes had been applied on Somerset and soon had Trego caught by an elated Vettori at mid off, having made 58 off 38. Aravind then removed Arul Suppiah for his second wicket in his final over, another tight one that sealed the game for the Royal Challengers.
Alfonso Thomas and Nick Compton played out the two remaining overs as Somerset tasted their first defeat while RCB picked up their first win of the tournament, by 51 runs to lift their NRR above the rest of the teams in Group B. A semis slot is almost certain now provided they win their last game against the South Australian Redbacks, by a decent margin. The RCB management will be closely observing the game between the Warriors and Somerset to know exactly what they have to do in their final game.
But for now, the team will want to savour its victory. This win will prove meaningless without a win against the Redbacks but they have surmounted considerable odds to even be in this position and will be better off knowing what they are capable of.