IPL MATCH CENTRE
Opener Chris Gayle bludgeoned his way to a stunning 57-ball 117 as Royal Challengers Bangalore hammered Kings XI Punjab by 138 runs in an Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket match here on Wednesday.
Punjab paid a heavy price for dropping Gayle twice — on 27 and 53 — as the left-handed batsman went on to hit his fifth IPL century and lead his side to a mammoth 226/3.
It was a humongous task for a demoralised Punjab to chase such a total and they capitulated under pressure. All they managed was just 88 in 13.4 overs.
It was second biggest win in IPL history by run-margin, only behind Kolkata Knight Riders's 140-run victory over RCB in the 2008 edition.
Left-arm paceman Sreenath Aravind (4/27) rocked the Punjab top and middle-order and Mitchell Starc (4/15) polished off the lower-order.
Punjab batsmen inexplicably surrendered without any fight and were reduced to 34 for five in six over, with little chance of redeeming themselves.
When Starc bowled his compatriot Mitchell Johnson and Anureet Singh in the ninth over, Punjab were gasping at 49 for 8 and staring at the lowest total of the tournament (58 by Rajasthan Royals in 2009). But Axar Patel saved them blushes with a fighting unbeaten 40 off 21 balls.
With this win, Bangalore enhanced their chances of making the playoffs, as they jumped to third spot in the table with 11 points from 10 matches.
Before being caught and bowled by spinner Axar, Gayle entertained the fans by hitting 12 sixes and seven fours as hapless Punjab players kept watching the shots soaring over their heads and vanishing in the stands.
With skipper Virat Kohli (32), Gayle shared a 119-run stand in just 11.2 overs and later with AB de Villiers (47 not out) he raised a 71-run partnership in just 5.4 overs. Gayle completed his century by guiding a Johnson full-toss to square leg for four.
Only Anureet Singh managed respectable figures for Punjab. He did not take wickets but gave away just 25 runs in his four overs.
The Gayle carnage began in the second over of the match when Australian paceman Johnson pitched it up and was punished by the Jamaican, who slammed him for two sixes and two fours to amass 20 runs.