On this day in 2011 - Bowlers, Gayle shine as RCB thump CSK
Having begun the 2011 season with only one victory in the first five games, RCB had turned around their fortunes dramatically. With seven consecutive wins on the board, RCB had made it through to the playoffs with a game to spare. Now they were up against the Chennai Superkings at home, looking to seal the top spot in the league table. The team had suffered a defeat in their previous game against the Kings XI Punjab, and a win would lift the spirits before the playoffs.
The opening bowlers for RCB set the tone for the evening from the very beginning. Hitting the perfect line and length, they troubled the Chennai openers from the get-go. The first breakthrough came about when Michael Hussey edged one back onto his stumps off Zaheer Khan in the third over. S Aravind’s consistent, nagging line and length paid off as Murali Vijay’s tentative push outside off produced an outside edge to AB De Villiers behind the stumps. Zaheer got his second wicket, that of Suresh Raina with a bouncer. When S Badrinath lost patience and fell for a 10-ball duck, Chennai Superkings were in deep trouble at 23/4 by the end of the powerplay.
There was no respite for the Chennai batsmen as the RCB bowlers continued to maintain the stranglehold on the Chennai batsmen. In an effort to put together a sizeable score, MS Dhoni and Wriddhiman Saha tried to preserve wickets. The partnership which had put on 42 runs, although at snail’s pace, had lent the CSK score a sense of respectability. But, with just less than 8 overs left and the innocuous seam bowling of Virat Kohli to face, Saha tried to accelerate and lost his wicket when Luke Pomersbach completed a catch at the deep square leg boundary. RCB skipper Daniel Vettori got rid of Dwayne Bravo, and RCB were well ahead of the game.
With Chennai tottering at 79/6, MS Dhoni was their only hope for putting up a defendable score. Despite wickets falling around him, Dhoni maintained his usual, calm demeanor. He chose his moments to take calculated risks and brought up his fifty off only 32 balls with a six over deep mid-wicket off S Aravind. Dhoni’s onslaught at the end, thanks to which 37 runs came off the last 3 overs, set RCB a target of 129. Dhoni alone had contributed 70 runs having faced only one-third of the balls.
Chris Gayle was declared the player of the match for his unbeaten 75 off 50 balls in the run-chase
RCB looked to experiment with their batting order, promotind De Villiers to open the innings alongside Chris Gayle. The move did not work, as De Villiers was out stumped off the third ball of the innings. But, Gayle was in imperious form. There was no stopping the Jamaican on the day. He made his presence felt when he took on Chennai’s lead bowler, Doug Bollinger, and smashed him out of the ground twice in the fourth over. Virat Kohli played his part to perfection, rotating the strike well and putting away an odd ball to the boundary. With Kohli and Gayle leading the chase, RCB hardly had any trouble in pursuit of the mediocre target set by Chennai.
Kohli was dismissed when he flicked one to short fine-leg off Albie Morkel, but Saurabh Tiwary and Chris Gayle made sure there were no more hiccups. Gayle enthralled the Chinnaswamy crows with a couple more lusty blows that landed deep in the crowd. Gayle remained unbeaten on 75 off 50 balls, as RCB chased down the target with 2 overs and 8 wickets to spare. The thumping of their arch-rivals Chennai meant RCB landed the top spot on the points table and were going into the playoffs high on confidence.