Gayle does his part but De Villiers smashes win for Bangalore
The match was billed as a contest between two batting heavyweights, but it was the bowlers who called the shots on a rank turner at the JSCA International Stadium in Ranchi on Sunday.
While Ravi Ashwin’s ripping offbreaks and Samuel Badree’s skidders created an early ripple after Chennai Super Kings posted 138 for four, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers held their own as Royal Challengers Bangalore rekindled their Indian Premier League play-off aspirations with a hard-fought five-wicket win.
Gayle and Virat Kohli’s second-wicket stand of 61 took its time coming, and while they were made to look ungainly on a number of occasions, the comfort of having nine wickets in hand going into the final 10 overs worked to their advantage. While Kohli was dismissed, Gayle soldiered on to make a laboured 46 laced with the occasional big hit. But it was not until De Villiers arrived that Bangalore started to see light at the end of the tunnel.
When Kohli fell in the 15th over, Bangalore needed 64 off 35 deliveries. But De Villiers hardly broke a sweat as he smashed one four and three sixes. Coming under his wheel was David Hussey, who eventually conceded 38 off 2.5 overs, as Bangalore crossed the line with one ball to spare after Abu Nechim, who took one for 18 off his four overs, hit the winning runs, much to the delight of Kohli and company.
That Bangalore were left chasing under seven runs an over right from the outset was due to the efforts of the bowlers. While the spin twins – Yuzvendra Chahal and Muttiah Muralitharan – maximised the slowness of the surface to put the brakes on the scoring in the middle overs, an impressive display of death bowling by Mitchell Starc and Abu Nechim prevented a late surge. Amidst the struggle, Suresh Raina’s 48-ball 62 stood out as Chennai got to a fighting total.
Chennai have owed a large part of their success so far to their openers – Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum – who have made mincemeat of quality attacks. This time around, Varun Aaron had the last laugh as he accounted for both batsmen in the space of three deliveries.
McCullum mistimed a pull to Starc at deep midwicket for 19, while Smith top-edged a pull to De Villiers at cover on nine. It was only the second time Chennai lost their openers inside the Power Play overs, leaving the middle order with a tall task to put on a defendable score.
Shashank Kisore writes for Wisden India. Visit wisdenindia.com for more on the IPL.
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Published: May 18, 2014 04:00 AM