Gayle ton crushes Delhi
The Royal Challengers Bangalore overcame a nervous passage to deliver a 21 run stomping to the table toppers Delhi Daredevils at the Feroze Shah Kotla in Delhi on Thursday night.
Sehwag’s unavailability because of fitness and Morne Morkel being rested gave RCB an advantage even before the toss which Mahela Jayawardene won and chose to chase.
Tillakaratne Dilshan was the first to go trying to attack Varun Aaron, it was the only breakthrough Delhi were to get all night. Virat Kohli took over the scoring and raced away to 24 off 17 while Chris Gayle got his eye in at 15 off 19. They were cautious as Jayawardene rotated his bowlers and took RCB to 83/1 after 11 overs.
Gayle decided it was time to cut loose and moved from 37 off 32b to 50 off 37b attacking Pawan Negi and Morkel’s replacement Andre Russell. Irfan Pathan and Negi were then taken apart as he brought up his 100 off just 16 more deliveries with just one four and six sixes, getting there in 53 balls.
Gayle did not slow down post his hundred, taking more sixes off Yadav and even Aaron to end on 128* off 62 balls – the highest score in the tournament, became the first man to hit 3 tons in the IPL, the first to hit 50 sixes in a single edition of the IPL, the first to make more than 600 runs in two editions and the first to make 700 runs in an IPL.
Kohli attacked Russell, Aaron and Yadav at the other end too, bringing up his 50 off 41 deliveries before ending on 73* off 53b as the partnership for the second wicket fetched 204 runs, the second highest in all T20s and helped them post a daunting total of 215/1.
The Delhi batsmen came out blazing but lost wickets regularly too. David Warner (15, 9b) hit Zaheer Khan (3/38) and got out. Virender Sehwag’s replacement, India U-19 player Unmukt Chand (18, 10b) was removed by Vinay and Jayawardene (9, 14b) was dismissed by Parameswaran but all contributed with quick cameos to keep the required rate within sights.
Ross Taylor (55, 26b) spectacularly burst into form after his long poor run in the tournament, targeting overs from Muttiah Muralitharan (1/44), Harshal Patel (1/38) and Prasanth Parameswaran (3/30). He hit 50 off just 22 balls and brought DD dangerously close in breakneck partnerships with Venugopal Rao and Naman Ojha.
Taylor first added 38 off 20 with Rao (36, 24b) who was dismissed by a superb running one handed catch by Patel at the long off boundary off Muralitharan’s bowling. Ojha (13, 12b) and Taylor added another 44 off 25 before a tight start to the 16th over from Zaheer saw Ojha hole out to Tiwary at the fence. But Russell (31, 15b) struck a massive six off the very first ball he faced all season to keep DD in the game.
With a very possible 58 off 24 needed, a weak pull saw Ross Taylor being caught at the midwicket fence in the next over off Vinay Kumar (2/35). Zaheer returned to remove Pathan in the next over as the required rate soared beyond even Russell’s reach.
The 19th over bowled by Vinay went for 14 and left DD with 30 to get off the last over. Russell slammed a six off the first ball but Parameswaran had him caught by Kohli at long off two balls later and finished the over with the wicket of Umesh Yadav as RCB closed out the defense comfortably. DD came close posting 194/9, giving RCB an almighty scare but couldn’t finish the job.
The 21 run win places them on 17 points, same as the Chennai Super Kings. Another win on Sunday against DC and they will have cemented their place in the play offs.