Chris Gayle carried the Royal Challengers Bangalore without any alarms to a nine-wicket victory with two overs to spare over the Mumbai Indians in their IPL match at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday.
Mumbai were defending just 141 and Gayle and fellow opener Tillakaratne Dilshan quickly foiled any hopes they had of putting pressure on the Bangalore batting by adding 48 for the first wicket.
Gayle was content to see off dangerman Lasith Malinga, who bowled his first three overs for 10 runs, and made a patient start against the new ball on a pitch that offered assistance to the bowlers. The left-hander scored just two runs off his first 10 balls and went to 30 off 30 deliveries before exploding into action.
The West Indian finished with 82 not out off 59 balls, another fine effort by Gayle that took him to the top of the run-scorer’s list and the Orange Cap. Anything short or wide was punished mercilessly by Gayle, who was able to use brute force or tremendous skill to collect five fours and six sixes with consummate ease.
Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha sparked Gayle’s rapid acceleration as he gave him plenty of material to work with in the 11th over, two full tosses being dispatched for six and the next ball being thumped over long-off to bring up his half-century off just 36 deliveries.
Dilshan’s 19 contained three fours as he contributed to the solid start, but the Sri Lankan was frustrated to be given out lbw sweeping at Ojha in the ninth over.
Virat Kohli looked back in good form as he helped Gayle finish the job as he went to a fluent 36 not out off 25 balls, hitting two balls into the crowd.
Malinga and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh were the Mumbai bowlers who put the ball in the right places most often, conceding 20 and 18 runs respectively in their four overs.
The overwhelming victory lifts Bangalore into the top four playoff places, after their bowlers had also dominated as they restricted the Mumbai Indians to 141 for six.
Having won the toss and elected to bowl first, Bangalore captain Kohli was rewarded by one of the better performances by the attack in the fifth season of the IPL.
The pace bowlers – Zaheer Khan (4-0-16-0), Vinay Kumar (4-0-34-2) and Harshal Patel (4-0-24-2) exploited the early moisture in the pitch and champion spinner Muttiah Muralitharan (4-0-24-2) then applied the finishing touches.
Vinay removed James Franklin (1) and Rohit Sharma (0) in the second over as Mumbai crashed to two for two and the first five overs were a real struggle for the home side, with Sachin Tendulkar failing to reproduce the form he showed in his last innings, when he blazed 74 off 44 balls against the Chennai Super Kings.
But Tendulkar reeled off three successive boundaries off Vinay in the sixth over, the million dollar man bowling repetitive half-volleys.
Tendulkar picked up one more boundary and reached 24 off 27 balls before he tried to pull Harshal from outside off stump and could only sky a return catch to the 21-year-old prospect.
Mumbai were 41 for three in the ninth over and floundering, but Dinesh Karthik and Ambati Rayudu consolidated with a stand of 44 in five-and-a-half overs, before Rayudu slapped Harshal to long-off to be dismissed for 22.
Karthik brought his usual clever adaptations to the crease in top-scoring for Mumbai with 44 off 39 balls, picking up three fours and a six, before an attempted slog-sweep was his undoing, the full length of Muralitharan preventing him from getting under the ball and presenting wide long-on with a comfortable catch.
The magic of Murali then claimed the important wicket of Dwayne Smith (2), the hero of Mumbai’s stunning win over Chennai at the weekend, with his next delivery, the West Indian slicing a doosra to point.
But there was another obvious dangerman still at the crease in Kieron Pollard (21*) and he hammered two sixes in the final over of the innings bowled by Vinay, sharing an unbroken stand of 41 in 4.1 overs with Harbhajan (20*).