Bangalore: Chris Gayle plundered 38 runs in a 12-ball blitzkrieg as Royal Challengers Bangalore scored an emphatic four?wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders under Duckworth-Lewis method in a rain-truncated match to seal a play-offs berth in Indian Premier League on Saturday.
Gayle continued with his batting pyrotechnics in IPL 4 as he hit six fours and two sixes to score all but two runs of his 38 from boundaries to send the packed home crowd at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium into a frenzy.
With the towering West Indian laying a strong foundation at the top of the order, RCB chased down the revised target of 102 with three balls to spare after the match was reduced to a 13-over-a-side affair due to two-hour rain interruption during the KKR innings.
RCB overhauled the target, reaching 105 for six in 12.3 overs to notch up their eighth win in the tournament.
Earlier, sent into bat, KKR made 89 for four from their reduced 13 overs. But they would have been worse had Yusuf Pathan (36) and Manoj Tiwary (19 not out) not conjured a fighting 53-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
With the win today, RCB jumped to the top of the table with 17 points from 12 matches. KKR remained on fourth spot with 14 points from 12 matches.
It was Gayle all the way, delighting the 45,000-strong crowd that had patiently sat through two spells of rain which stole more than two hours of play during KKR innings after RCB stand-in skipper Virat Kohli sent them in.
Gayle took 16 runs off fast bowler Brett Lee`s first over and then savaged 23 runs of the next over bowled by Jaidev Unadkat.
Even before KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir had blinked his eyes, RCB had galloped to 44 runs in barely 16 balls. Had the marauding Gayle hung around a wee bit longer, the home side would have possibly won the match much before they eventually did.
Chancing his arms once too often, Gayle miscued an intended lofted drive off Lee to Jacques Kallis at backward point in the third over.
In scoring 38, Gayle took his aggregate to 436 runs in seven innings in IPL 4, bettering Virender sehwag`s 424, to take possession of the Orange cap.
He also holds the record for the highest number of sixes in a single edition of the IPL. He has scored 32 sixes, doing one better than Sanath Jayasuriya`s 31.
The way Gayle was hammering the bowlers, he could well continue to wear the orange cap right through the tournament.
Apart from Gayle who provided the turbo-charge, Luke Pomersbach (16) and stand-in skipper Virat Kohli (15) contributed their mite.
Earlier, a fighting 53-run partnership for the fourth wicket between Manoj Tiwary and Yusuf Pathan took Kolkata Knight Riders to 89 for four.
More than two hours of play was lost due to intermittent rain, frustrating the 40,000-strong crowd at the M Chinnaswamy stadium who sat through patiently between two ground inspections by the umpires.
Placed at 69 for three in 11 overs at the rain interruption at around 5 pm local time, the Knight Riders did well to score 20 runs in the two overs they got after umpires decided to reduce the match to a 13 over-a-side affair.
The Duckworth-Lewis method set Royal Challengers to a revised target of 102 in 13 overs.
Invited to bat, Knight Riders lost their top three batsmen for a mere 30 runs inside six overs, putting the RCB in a commanding position.
But Manoj Tiwary (19 not out) and Yusuf Pathan (36), who struck three sixes and two fours during his 24-ball essay, ensured that the Knight Riders had a defendable total.
During his onslaught, Yusuf Pathen went past Adam Gilchrist`s record 71 IPL sixes, taking his tally to 72.
Royal Challengers Bangalore had made two changes in their playing eleven, bringing in Abhimanyu Mithun in place of Abrar Kazi and Luke Pomersbach for Tillakaratne Dilshan while the Knight Riders retained the same side.