Chris Gayle leads Bangalore charge
Chris Gayle ended a week of controversy and acrimony in spectacular fashion yesterday as he bludgeoned an unbeaten hundred to inspire the Bangalore Royal Challengers to victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders by nine wickets.
Gayle announced his arrival to the competition for Bangalore by blasting seven sixes and 10 fours en route to a 55-ball 102 against his former franchise as Bangalore chased down Kolkata's 171 with 11 balls to spare.
He had arrived in India following a war of words with the West Indies cricket board over his non-selection for the opening games of his country's home series with Pakistan, with the Jamaican claiming he had been ignored.
But Gayle put that behind him as he batted superbly, and he said he had enjoyed being able to forget about his off-field dramas.
"It is the first time I picked up my bat after the World Cup," he said. "I wasn't practising a lot at home. I had to get a lot out of my mind, keep my focus right, keep putting pressure for selection.
"I could have batted faster, but I thought I needed an IPL century."
Daniel Vettori, the Bangalore captain, was thrilled by Gayle's immediate impact on his side's fortunes as Bangalore picked up their second victory of the tournament.
"If you have a player like Chris, you have got to find a way to get him in the XI," he said.
"We thought the wicket would get better as the game went on, and were proved right."
Gautam Gambir felt that Gayle's innings had been the difference between the two sides after they had scored a competitive 171 for five, with Yusuf Pathan top-scoring.
The Kolkata captain said: "We did a lot of things right today, all credit to Chris, he never allowed us back in to the game."
In yesterday's late game, the Mumbai Indians moved to the top of the points table as they defeated Chennai Super Kings, the defending champions, by eight runs
Mumbai were indebted to a stand of 87 for the fourth wicket between Rohit Sharma and Andrerw Symonds for getting them to a total of 164 for four after they had been put into bat by Chennai.
They had been reeling at 13 for two after openers Rajagopal Sathish and Sachin Tendulkar, the Mumbai captain, had fallen cheaply.
Harbhajan Singh then proved to be the Mumbai hero with the ball as he claimed five wickets to ensure that Chennai fell short in the run chase.
Only Subramaniam Badrinath (71 not out) and Michael Hussey (41) got going for Chennai, who had looked in good shape at 98 for two after 11 overs.
But tight bowling and good fielding from Mumbai kept the pressure on the Chennai batsmen and Harbhajan ran through the lower-order to seal the home side's fourth win of the season despite Badrinath being left unbeaten at the end of the innings.
Published: April 23, 2011 04:00 AM