Chris Gayle scoring at under 100 in T20? Now, that can't be happening! Or was it because of the Ranchi pitch that RCB had their first view only two hours before the start of their match?
It was definitely on the slower side. But there was bounce too. Ask Yusuf Pathan, who was hit on his hand by a Ravi Rampaul snorter. KKR captain Gautam Gambhir cut Abhimanyu Mithun with ease for three successive fours before edging to Gayle, who took the catch chest high at first slip. Again Virat Kohli was done in by a Jacques Kallis delivery that stayed a touch low. There was a hint of swing. And turn for Sunil Narine.
One practice session might not have assured Gambhir too about the pitch. So like a good host, he invited the visitors to bat and asked spinner Sachithra Senanayake to open the bowling. That decision alone may have allowed KKR to stay alive in the playoff race after a low-scoring humdinger.
On the edge
Gayle has conceded a maiden and scored a century in the same match. But on Sunday, he pushed nervously and offered two leading edges. A six is now becoming the norm for Gayle but Narine foxed him into a smart stumping by Manvinder Bisla. Playing straight was the need of the hour. But the duo most capable of doing that for RCB --- Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat — failed.
KKR too treaded the same path before Kallis dug in. As soon as Mithun messed up his simple catch at fine-leg, the South African all-rounder cut down on the horizontal shots. He batted sensibly, taking singles and nudges to resurrect KKR who could have easily imploded after Pathan's dismissal. Kallis couldn't finish the job but Ryan ten Doeschate did, picking Vinay Kumar's slower delivery to spank it for a four dead straight.