Royal flush at the Chinnaswamy
A superb bowling show and an uncharacteristic Chris Gayle knock propelled the Royal Challengers Bangalore to the top of the 2013 IPL points table with a 7 wicket win over the Rajasthan Royals on Saturday night.
Ravi Rampaul bowled a threatening opening spell after Virat Kohli had chosen to bowl first, accounting for Shane Watson in a wicket-maiden. Rahul Dravid got into stride, ruining Rampaul’s figures in his 3rd over with a four and a six even as Jaydev Unadkat, removed Ajinkya Rahane at the other end with a slower one.
Stuart Binny then launched into Kartik Murali and Jaydev Unadkat, hitting 33 (20b 4x4 1x6)and adding 40 for the third wicket with Dravid in just 27 deliveries and forcing Kohli to bring Vinay Kumar back into the attack. The move paid off, Vinay getting him with a superb bouncer that Arun Karthick did well to run behind and catch.
Dravid had began to shake off his shackles and go for the boundaries when he was caught at the long on boundary off Kartik’s bowling. In 4 hours of brainless batting that followed, Vinay (3/18) and RP (3/13) removed 5 batsmen between them, RR going from 105/4 to 112/9 in the space of 17 deliveries. When RP caught Siddharth Trivedi at third man in the final over off Rampaul (2/19), RR had been bowled out for 117 in 19.4 overs.
Tillakaratne Dilshan returned to the top of the line up after a brief trip to Sri Lanka and he seemed to have brought back the form he was missing in the earlier games. He looked the most comfortable batsman on the pitch after Binny, timing his shots with ease and finding gaps regularly. Dilshan kept the scorecard ticking, easing the pressure off Chris Gayle who was taking his time at the other end.
RCB had reached a healthy 53 in the 7th over when Dilshan (25, 22b, 5x4) was dismissed, caught behind off Shane Watson (2/11). James Faulkner (1/21) had Virat Kohli next with a slower cutter to bowl him before Watson returned to lure AB de Villiers into driving one into the hands of Ajit Chandila at mid off.
The score now read 64/3 after 9 overs leaving left Chris Gayle and Saurabh Tiwary to get the remaining 53 runs required. Gayle had been tentative so far in the innings and RR’s bowlers were making things harder by denying him room to swing his arms. Tiwary had just come into the team after recovering from an injury.
Kartik Murali had earlier tweeted about how he had been encouraging Chris Gayle to practice his defense against spin. Gayle showed off his defense in plenty, repeatedly producing the forward press to Ajit Chandila.
Bangalore were helped by Shaun Tait’s wayward bowling which gave them four byes and deliveries on the leg which just had to be deflected to the third man boundary.
Saurabh Tiwary produced the lone boundary between the 12th and 17th over, hitting Chandila for a six in a stretch where RCB just preferred to settle for singles. Only 36 runs came in those overs as the two took a completely risk free approach in light of recent batting collapses.
Trivedi came on to bowl the 18th over, only for Tiwary (25*, 29b, 2x4, 1x6) to smash two fours and bring up the fifty run stand for the 4th wicket. He then turned over the strike to Chris Gayle who was on 43* off 43b with the scores level. As expected Gayle (49*, 44b, 5x4,1x6) finished the game with a six to seal an ultimately emphatic 7 wicket win for RCB, a win that took them to the top of the 2013 IPL points table.
Vinay Kumar won the Man of the Match award for his 3/13 which ripped through the Rajasthan Royals middle order.