Gujarat Lions v Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2017, Rajkot April 18, 2017

Gayle blitz, Chahal guile reinvigorate RCB


Royal Challengers Bangalore 213 for 2 (Gayle 77, Kohli 64, Jadhav 38*) beat Gujarat Lions 192 for 7 (McCullum 72, Kishan 39, Raina 23, Chahal 3-31) by 21 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Chris Gayle hadn't made a half-century in 17 T20 innings. His strike rate among openers who had faced a minimum of 50 deliveries prior to this game was the slowest. On Tuesday, a spot opened up after AB de Villiers' late pull-out because of an injury. It meant IPL's most successful opening partnership of Virat Kohli and Gayle were reunited again. With the side desperately needing fresh energy to revive a stalled campaign, Gayle, who became the first batsman to score 10,000 T20 runs, unleashed mayhem - striking 77 off 38 balls - as Royal Challengers posted 213 for 2, the season's highest total, on a slow Rajkot deck.

Then Brendon McCullum came up with an astonishing display of six-hitting in a 44-ball 72 that should have been enough to give Lions victory on most nights. But conceding 35 off the last two overs with the ball - a majority of those plundered by Kedar Jadhav in his unbeaten 16-ball 38 - proved to be the difference as Royal Challengers won by 21 runs and arrested a three-match losing streak to lift themselves off the bottom of the points table.

RCB start steadily
As early as the fifth over, midwicket was in business at least twice, trying to dive forward to try and catch a mistimed flick. On both occasions, the ball skewed off the top part of Kohli's bat. These were early indications that the ball was gripping, which Dhawal Kulkarni, Basil Thampi and Andrew Tye exploited well early on. Lions conceded just 36 in the first five overs, with Gayle and Kohli far from set.

Gayle storm unleashed
The template was set: bowl slower through the air and get the batsmen to force the pace. Royal Challengers had two left-handers in the top six. Gayle is a slow starter against spin and on a slow surface where shot-making wasn't as easy as he later made it out to be, he had to content with Ravindra Jadeja as early as the sixth over.

Jadeja started off by conceding just nine, but deviated from the template in his next over by bowling full, fast and straight. It was the fodder Gayle needed to swing through cleanly: he muscled two fours and two sixes in a 21-run over. One of those sixes could've been out had Brendon McCullum's hat not been in contact with the rope as he flung himself across to take a catch at wide long-off. Gayle raced to a 23-ball 50 courtesy three fours and five monstrous sixes to turn a steady start into a spectacular one.

Kohli, the accumulator
Kohli's timing seemed off initially. This was no surface to punch through the line, so he tried to charge down the pitch and was beaten in trying to hit out. But the three successive boundaries he hit off Dhawal Kulkarni in the third over - to full deliveries - got him going.

Having watched Gayle return to form, Kohli took over after Thampi ended a 122-run opening stand in the 13th over. Signs of recovery from a shoulder injury were evident as he swiveled and pulled without discomfort to bring up a half-century. It helped that Travis Head, replacing Samuel Badree, didn't take long to settle in and finished with a 16-ball 30 not out. Kohli eventually fell to a slower delivery for 64, attempting a heave on the leg side.

Jadhav thrives in finishers' role
Kedar Jadhav showed how much his T20 game has improved since the 2016 season, where he played just four games. His anticipation, particularly to Tye's slower deliveries and Jadeja's darts, were particularly impressive. He hit two sixes and four fours in the last two overs, in which Royal Challengers smashed 35. The final over that went for 17 resulted in Jadeja finishing with 4-0-57-0, his most-expensive T20 figures.

Negi's flight, McCullum's fury
Royal Challengers started with spin and had Dwayne Smith and Suresh Raina out early inside four overs. Left with no choice but to play just one way, McCullum found his hitting range against in Pawan Negi's second over. He raced to a 30-ball 50, but the pressure brought on by dot balls resulted in the wickets of Aaron Finch and Dinesh Karthik in the space of eight deliveries to set Lions back. Negi continued to trust his weapon - flight - and deceived Finch as Jadhav effected a smart stumping. He followed that up by conceding just one in his next over - to leave Lions needing 107 off eight overs. Under the circumstances, Negi's figures of 4-0-21-1 were gold.

Chahal's guile seals it
With McCullum repeatedly favouring the leg side, Chahal threw the ball up outside off and induced a slog sweep that was pouched at deep square leg in his last over. The timing of that wicket - with Lions needing 77 off 32 balls - was significant given Shane Watson and Adam Milne's five overs had cost 63. With Negi bowled out, Kohli had to turn to one of them or S Aravind in the end-overs. McCullum's wicket, however, took the fizz out of the chase. By making 39 off just 16 balls, Ishan Kishan made his case to be promoted, perhaps even as opener in place of Dwayne Smith, once Dwayne Bravo returns from injury.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • nvskis8186839 on April 20, 2017, 10:49 GMT

    @cricfan83234579, i think u didnot read my statement clearly, i said he is still good enough for odi but not may be for t20 and if u could look at the comments of criticisers, they added jadeja should quit all formats and i replied those people that jadeja is still a decent player in odi and test

  • ram4fr9677970 on April 19, 2017, 12:31 GMT

    Instead of Binny and Watson, they should include a proper batsmen and bowler. I think, they will do well then this two....

  • prakash on April 19, 2017, 11:14 GMT

    For heaven sake, is there no replacement for Binny. He is a passenger in all forms of T20. Who calls this, I dont know. But whoever, he is daft. Whats happened to Virat's sharp eye for best selection; Is it also injured. Better then to leave captaincy to someone else and go-on with batting. Even Watson is a passenger. Wake up team management .

  • Dream_4235749 on April 19, 2017, 11:10 GMT

    @KingKohli..... Maybe you are not watching how Krunal Pandya bowl for Mumbai Indians . He varies his pace, line and length to stop the run flow even against the best in business ABD . Why don't you understand that Jadeja doesn't have those skills? Jadeja just tries to bowl at 100 kmph every time. No loop , No deception ..Nothing.

  • Dream_4235749 on April 19, 2017, 11:03 GMT

    Raina's statement after the match : "It's a worry for us, the spin department."..... Maybe he forgot how SRH won the IPL last year. That is, with pace attack. Raina has Nathu Singh, Thampi, Tye, Faulkner in the team and still he doesn't know the answer .... GL owner should have made Brendon McCullum captain.

  • persev1507162 on April 19, 2017, 10:59 GMT

    MINDURGAME, while your comments are completely valid, i am only saying that one cannot completely discredit all-rounders like that. They do add to the balance of any team, especially in the shorter format, where batting collapses happen as often as the sky is blue, and some very good bowlers have off days.

    Good bowlers having off days does not mean they are bad, but on that day, if they struggle to hit their rhythm, then having an extra bowler in the form of an allrounder will certainly help.

    So the all-rounders may be bits and pieces all right, but that does not diminish their value. And i am referring to utility allrounders who can do one primary job well, and a reasonable job on the other front, not fellows like Watson who dont do either job properly. On a more humorous note, I think having seen legendary allrounders like Kallis has spoiled us a lot.

  • nvskis8186839 on April 19, 2017, 10:39 GMT

    @TO ALL JADEJA CRITICERS, it seems that u all never played a decent level cricket in grounds or colleges and just speak by watching cricket in tv, is in't it ? because if u had played then u would have known that hitting good length ball consistently of jadeja's pace and accuracy is not easy in odi cricket for 50 overs where u have risk of getting out and unable to play 50 overs whereas in t20 it is sometimes easy to have a couple of blasts at jadeja and spoil his figures where getting out in t20 wont be much of a issue, So please understand this and if u want practical reply then atleast play some cricket games in pc and test by bowling it good length with jadeja's pace and accuracy in odi cricket

  • sreeha7911188 on April 19, 2017, 9:59 GMT

    DIESEL_LOCO_WDP4, you repeated the same mistake that I pointed out. It is not that I don't know T20 or test cricket n flat pitches n all. Ask yourself why teams endlessly struggle to get their combinations right, who have been topping the batting and bowling charts?? Proper batsmen and genuine bowlers or the bits and pieces players?? All the seasons it has been proper players who have contributed solidly like Kholi, Warner, Bhuvi, Rahul, Gambhir, Marsh, ABD etc. The thing with bits and pieces is you are stuffing them for the sake of it. For example, a proper bowler will fare far better than a bits bowlers on flat pitches. What are the chances of a proper batsman scoring better vs bits player? What are the odds of genuine bowler taking wickets vs bits bowlers? The so called all rounders hardly perform, ex mathews, Corey, Shakib, Head, Henriques, Cutting hardly delivered in couple of matches. Remember, it doesn't matter test or T20, quality will always win with consistency.

  • saradindu on April 19, 2017, 9:43 GMT

    Nothing to rave about the win by RCB . Even they were taken to the cleaners by Gujarat Lions . 192 is no mean achievement . RCB bowling sans starc is dependent on Chahal and big total of 200 plus always to win, since the second batting side will always be under pressure to keep up the run rate . Whether or not 200 plus will be possible in all their(RCB) subsequent matches is very doubtful . The other is both Gayle and Virat have to keep firing in all the remaining matches for RCB to reach the qualifying rounds and reach the finals and win the IPL trophy for once in the 2008-2017 participation . The team with all the vociferous support from its home fans should for once at least prove the fans faith in the team .

  • Desmond on April 19, 2017, 9:36 GMT

    Chris Gayle achieved 10000+ runs in Twenty20 and not T20Is. (Similar to First-class vs Tests or List A vs ODIs) No doubt it is a great achievement but no need to go gaga over it. There are many such batsmen who never played well for their country but did extremely well in domestic cricket. Check out his record at the following link:

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