After a subdued performance in the opening two matches, Royal Challengers Bangalore opener Chris Gayle broke free, striking a 46-ball 86 to leave the hosts in prime position to get their first win of the tournament. Gayle's pyrotechnics guided RCB to a commanding 206/6 against Somerset in their
Champions League T20 match at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Monday. It was RCB's highest total ever, and second highest total in CLT20, only behind Trinidad and Tobago's 213 achieved in 2009.
Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman Chris Gayle celebrates his half century against Somerset during the Champions League T20-2011 match in Bangalore.
Somerset, in reply, were restricted to 155-6. Gayle did enjoy a massive slice of luck as he was dropped by Jos Buttler off Steve Kirby when he was yet to open his account.
Tillakaratne Dilshan played the role of enforcer early on, dispatching the Somerset bowlers to all parts of the ground. The Sri Lankan raced away to a 16-ball 23 before South African spinner Roelof van der Merwe uprooted his off-stump.
New man Virat Kohli also got into the act early, dispatching van der Merwe to the boundary rope off the first ball he faced. Gayle joined the party in van der Merwe's next over, hitting him for a massive six off the final ball. Another left-arm slow, George Dockrell, had to bear the brunt of Gayle's brute force. In the 11th over, Gayle smashed him for three massive sixes, including two straight over the hapless bowler's head.
Kohli fell in the next over, clean bowled by Kirby. However, that did little to upset Gayle's rhythm as he went about routinely smashing the ball over the boundary ropes. At the other end, Saurabh Tiwary and Mayank Aggarwal, whose cameo included two huge sixes, kept the scoreboard healthy.
Somerset skipper Alfonso Thomas came back in the 18th over and got rid of Aggarwal and Gayle off successive deliveries, both caught by Arul Suppiah as they looked to up the run-rate. A couple of tidy overs threatened to keep RCB below 200, but a 13-run final over took them past the mark.