IPL 4: RCB beat Knight Riders by 9 wkts
Kolkata: Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Kolkata Knight Riders by nine wickets in their Indian Premier League match that saw some classic big hits, much to the thrills of RCB fans.
Banglore had won the toss and elected to bowl first as they looked to turn around their fortunes against the table toppers KKR.
Then came the big-hitting West Indian opener Chris Gayle who started his IPL 4 with a blistering century to make mincemeat of the 172-run target set by Gautam Gambhir`s Knight Riders.
Gayle’s knock came off just 55 balls.
Chasing a challenging target of 172, Gayle took the likes of L Balaji and Shakib-al-Hasan to the cleaners, hitting seven sixes and 10 boundaries, as the former Knight Rider player, playing in his first match of the tournament, won the match singlehandedly with 11 balls to spare.
Gayle, who went unsold in the January auction after the Shah Rukh Khan-co-owned side decided against retaining the player, made a bold statement in front of what was his `home` crowd till the last season.
KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir used all his resources, but to no avail, as Gayle along with Tillakaratne Dilshan put on 123 runs in just 12.1 overs to set a solid platform.
The former West Indies skipper, drafted into the Bangalore team as replacement for injured Aussie pacer Dirk Nannes, was cautious to start with.
But once he got his eye in, there was no looking back. Gayle made his intention clear in the fifth over when he hit rookie left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat for back-to-back four and a six.
Challengers raced to 57 for no loss in the first powerplay but the run-rate zoomed further as Gayle started to explode.
The explosive West Indian got to his half-century in style, hitting Yusuf Pathan for a huge six, which covered a distance of 104 metres.
After reaching his fifty in 32 balls and with five fours and four sixes, Gayle went on to better his previous best IPL score of 88, which he had scored while playing for KKR.
Such was his power hitting that even the gigantic Eden Gardens proved to be too small.
Dilshan, at the other end, played sensibly, giving the bulk of the strike to Gayle before getting out for 38.
His innings came from 31 balls and had six fours.
But by the time KKR got their first and only breakthrough, the contest was as good as over.
Virat Kohli played the perfect foil to Gayle, scoring a sensible 23-ball 30 with the help of three boundaries and a six.
Earlier, Yusuf Pathan`s late burst and useful contributions from Jacques Kallis and Gambhir helped Kolkata post a challenging score of 171 for five.
Yusuf consolidated with a smashing 46 from only 24 balls that had three huge sixes and three boundaries after Kallis (40, 42 balls, 3x4) and Gautam Gambhir (48, 38 balls, 6x4) set the platform.