RCB knock down Super Kings
Royal Challengers Bangalore finish on top after defeating Chennai Super Kings, writes Rohit Bhaskar. Scorecardcricket Updated: May 23, 2011 02:50 IST
On the eve of the match against the Rajasthan Royals, the Royal Challangers Bangalore were at the bottom of the table.
A day later, Chris Gayle flew into town, and brought a torrential downpour with him as that match was washed out. Since then there's been a torrent of runs everywhere he has gone.
And in his nine matches he has scripted an amazing turnaround that has ensured the RCB finish off the regular season as the top team in IPL-IV league standings, after an eight-wicket win over defending champions Chennai Super Kings on Sunday.
Runs were raining off Gayle's bat again as he struck an unbeaten 50-ball 75 with six towering sixes and four hits to the boundary to help RCB surpass the 129-run target in 18 overs.
The home team's chase faced an early setback when CSK skipper MS Dhoni, whose 70-ball 40 guided Chennai to a respectable total, dismissed makeshift-opener AB de Villers with a clever stumping off R Ashwin with no runs on the board.
After Gayle saw off Ashwin, who returned miserly figures of 1/18, the Jamaican cut loose and helped RCB cruise home.
Bangalore now have 19 points while CSK stay on 18 points.
The returning Daniel Vettori and Zaheer Khan both showed the rest had done them a world of good, and their incisive bowling upfront restricted the Chennai Super Kings to 128/8 - even that total had looked beyond their reach until the captain's innings by Dhoni.
CSK received an early jolt when Zaheer got Aussie batsman Mike Hussey to drag a ball onto his stumps in the third over.
Opening partner Murali Vijay joined Hussey in the pavilion in the next over as the consistent S Aravind got him to edge to wicketkeeper AB de Villiers.
Suresh Raina was the next to go as Zaheer picked up his second wicket and completed a maiden over.
Skipper Daniel Vettori introduced himself in the sixth over, and immediately struck. The Kiwi left-arm spinner dismissed S Badrinath to reduce CSK to 22/4.
Dhoni doubled the total over the next six-and-half overs and he raced away to an unbeaten 70 of 40 balls, hitting six sixes, including a couple that soared over mid-wicket off Abhimanyu Mithun in the final over.