Bangalore: Chris Gayle played yet another scintillating knock as his unbeaten 85 ensured a convincing eight-wicket victory for Royal Challengers Bangalore over defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders in a Pepsi Indian Premier League match here on Thursday.
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Chasing a decent target of 155, `Gayle storm` struck KKR as RCB knocked off the runs with 15 balls to spare.
It is the third win for RCB in four matches while KKR suffered their second defeat on road having lost to Rajasthan Royals earlier this week.
The big-bodied Jamaican, who has been in prolific touch got his runs off only 50 deliveries hitting four boundaries and as many nine sixes.
It was therefore no surprise that Gayle is leading the `Maximum Sixes` list with 14 over-boundaries
Gayle added 83 runs for the unbeaten third wicket with AB de Villiers (22 not out), who played the role of second fiddle to perfection. Gayle also added 63 runs for the second wicket with skipper Virat Kohli (35), who had an ugly on-field spat with rival captain Gautam Gambhir after he got out.
However the evening belonged to Gayle as almost all the KKR bowlers suffered in his hands except Sunil Narine who only gave away 17 runs in his four overs.
The ploy to include Delhi left-arm seamer Pradeep Sangwan backfired badly as he leaked 34 runs in only two overs which turned the match in RCB`s favour.
Gayle, who has employed a different tactic in this IPL as he is not attacking the bowlers during the Powerplay but has been brutal in his strokeplay during the back-10. With good support from Kohli and De Villiers, it has been easy for Gayle to launch during the later part of the innings with wickets in hand.
Earlier, captain Gautam Gambhir struck 46-ball 59 to propel KKR to 154 for eight after being out into bat.
Gambhir shared 51 runs with Yusuf Pathan (27 off 17 balls) to take KKR total past 150 as RCB bowlers struck regularly after the home side chose to field at M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Other KKR batsmen -- Jacques Kallis (16) and Manoj Tiwary (23) -- batted well but could not convert the starts into big knocks.
Gambhir survived a run-out after a mix-up with Kallis when he was on one. He cut the ball to the point and set off for a single but his partner was not interested in the run. Gambhir was lucky, a better throw from RCB captain Virat Kohli would have seen his back early on.
He then cracked two magnificent boundaries off R P Singh.
The KKR captain looked like he had a plan to unsettle legendary off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. He hit two consecutive boundaries in the very first over of Muralitharan. First, he came down the wicket and drove through covers and then went down on his knees to loft the ball to long-on fence.
Gambhir survived yet another run-out after the third umpire ruled that the wicketkeeper had not collected the ball cleanly before breaking the stumps. He then reached his 17th IPL fifty by gently nudging Jaydev Unadkat to third man.
After crashing Unadkat for a six, Gambhir top-edged Vinay Kumar for the bowler to take a return catch.
Having failed in the last two games, Pathan began with a bang smacking three consecutive boundaries of Vinay Kumar. He then lined up Jaydev Unadkat for a six over deep mid-wicket fence, but he could not last long as he was caught by Vinay Kumar off Henriques.
Eoin Morgan followed suit as he was out on his fifth ball for two off R P Singh.
First Published: Thursday, April 11, 2013, 19:35