By BV Swagath
Chris Gayle played one of the best ever T20 knocks as hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore thrashed Pune Warriors by as many as 130 runs at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. The irony of the match was that it was a contest between one man alone – Chris Gayle Vs Pune Warriors and yet it was the former who won it by some distance. PWI were hit by the Gayle Storm which took them for a 66-ball 175 and the visitors couldn’t even come anywhere close to what Chris Gayle had scored!
The RCB-PWI match was threatened by rain which did halt play in the 2nd over but fortunately play resumed soon with no overs lost. Chris Gayle today decided to play his big shots straightaway unlike the usual wait and explode method. As a result, Gayle smashed away to a fifty in just 17 balls and RCB put up 167 runs in just 13.4 overs for the first wicket. Dilshan, the other opener contributed only 33 while facing 36 balls. It was all Gayle doing the damage while bringing up a smashing century in just the 30 balls with one short of a dozen sixes flying out of the ground!
Gayle’s carnage lasted all the 20 overs and he plundered the PWI bowlers for an unbeaten 175 from 66 balls with 13 fours and 17 sixes! Towards the end of the RCB innings, AB de Villiers showed his magic with a superb cameo of 31 from 8 balls with 3 fours and 3 sixes. Though Gayle was completely destructive, Bhuvneshwar Kumar held his own with respectable figures of 4-0-23-0 and also Luke Wright who did well to concede only 26 off his 4 overs. The causalities of the Gayle Storm were primarily Ishwar Pandey (2-0-33-0), Ali Murtaza (2-0-45-0) and Aaron Finch (1-0-29-0).
Everyone knew the outcome of the match once RCB finished at 263 for 5. Pune Warriors were quickly crashing at a massive defeat but for a 31-ball 41 from Steven Smith helped them to post 133 for 9 in 20 overs. All the RCB bowlers did a fine job in taking wickets and strangling the PWI batsmen. Gayle finished the match by bowling the final over and taking two wickets.
Toss and Teams: Pune Warriors led by Aaron Finch have won the toss and asked hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore to bat first at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. The weather looks cloudy with good chances of rain.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers, Saurabh Tiwary, Arun Karthik (WK), Ravi Rampaul, Vinay Kumar, Murali Kartik, RP Singh, Jaidev Unadkat
Pune Warriors: Aaron Finch (C), Robin Uthappa (WK), Yuvraj Singh, Steven Smith, Luke Wright, Mitchell Marsh, Mithun Manhas, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishwar Pandey, Ali Murtaza, Ashok Dinda