It drizzled for most part of the Kings XI Punjab innings while on the field Adam Gilchrist and Shaun Marsh rained fours and sixes to light up the Indian Premier League match against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the HPCA Stadium on Tuesday night.
In an uninhibited display of power hitting, the duo helped amass 232 for 2 in 20 overs after Kings XI elected to bat. It is the third highest total in the IPL.
It was expected to be Chris Gayle's night again, but Gilchrist rolled back the clock by a few years to deliver a vintage performance in which he smashed nine sixes and eight fours during his 55-ball 106. The former Australia stumper had a subdued IPL so far, but picked the right moment to announce his return to form.
It was like watching a highlights package as every other ball raced to the fence with Marsh continuing the frenzy of boundary hits from the other end. The current Australian left-hander matched his senior pro stroke for stroke in his exhilarating unbeaten 79. Marsh struck seven fours and five sixes during his 49-ball effort.
The way they started, the RCB bowlers wouldn't have had any inkling of things to come. Opening bowler Johan van der Wath generated appreciable bounce, carry and swing in the opening over, to create doubts among the batsman's mind over the line of attack they needed to take. In most of his innings during this tournament, Gilchrist has been too hasty and has paid the price. This time, he decided to be watchful.
The early scoring was left to Paul Valthaty. Kings XI's Mumbai recruit performed the role expected of him and kept chipping from his end (20 runs off 17 balls), allowing Gilchrist the time to get his eye in. At the end of six overs, the hosts had progressed to 30 runs before Gilchrist chose to cut loose.
The former Australian ODI opener started the onslaught with a six off Abhimanyu Mithun, and in the next over by left-arm pacer S Aravind Gilchrist and Marsh plundered 21 runs. The 100 was up in the 10th over.
Marsh brought the house down in the 15th over when he smashed Van der Wath for 30 runs, the six-ball sequence reading - 6, 6, 4, 4, 4, 6.
If anything, it was the pace bowlers who were expected to get some assistance from the conditions. The ball was swinging and there was carry. The downside was that the ball travelled faster and longer due to the altitude.
To their misfortune, it all turned out to be to Gilchrist and Marsh's liking. The left-handers tore into the RCB pace bowlers. van der Wath was taken for 50 runs in his four overs and his opener partner, Charl Langeveldt, for 48. Needed to score at an excess of 11 an over, RCB's hopes rested on their big-hitting opener Gayle. But the Jamaican suffered his first failure, falling for a duck.