Everyone in the Royal Challengers Bangalore set-up — owners, coaches, skipper Daniel Vettori and even the players — have maintained that they're more than just a 'one-man army'. However, the man himself, Chris Gayle, did little to dispel that notion. He again let his bat do the talking as the Jamaican's 47-ball 89 against the Mumbai Indians at the MA Chidambaram stadium on Friday again proved to be the difference.
To be fair to RCB, it was an all-round team effort that secured their 43-run triumph. Sreenath Aravind bowled beautifully with the new ball to get two wickets, untested spinner Syed Mohammed came into a crunch encounter and bowled a peach of a delivery to bamboozle and get master blaster Sachin Tendulkar stumped, Vettori himself bowled the spell of the match. But all that would count for naught had Gayle's early fireworks not put the bowlers in a position where they could attack the MI batsman.
After a rare failure against the Chennai Super Kings on Tuesday, the southpaw was back to his destructive best, hitting nine fours and five sixes - including a few that landed on the top tier of the Chepauk stands.
Despite the likes of Lasith Malinga and Munaf Patel, the two leading wicket-takers in the tournament in their ranks, skipper Tendulkar gave the new ball to rookie Abu Nechim Ahmed.
The youngster got overawed by the occasion and bowled an eight-ball first over that yielded 27 runs, including a straight six by Gayle that thudded into the sightscreen.
Fellow opener Mayank Aggarwal also got into the act in the second over, cutting Harbhajan Singh twice to the third-man boundary.
After his horror first over, Tendulkar took Nechim off, but that brought no respite from the Gayle storm. Trying to keep pace with Gayle, Aggarwal got out. After being dropped by Rohit Sharma at long-on a couple of balls earlier, he again took the aerial route. However, this time Sharma made no mistake.
The wicket had no impact on Gayle's play as he kept playing his strokes. He was finally dismissed in the 15th over by Patel. Gayle hit one high and mighty but caught at the boundary rope by James Franklin with the score at 148/2 in 14.4 overs.