It was déjà vu for Chris Gayle and Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday night. In their earlier match in Dubai against Kings XI Punjab, rookie pacer Sandeep Sharma had removed Gayle, Parthiv Patel and Virat Kohli to restrict Bangalore to a small total.
On Friday, after KXIP had amassed 198, Bangalore’s fortunes hinged on the West Indies opener providing a good start. But before Gayle could launch himself into the attack, Sandeep accounted for him. That after he failed to take a return catch blasted back at him in the very first over. AB de Villiers smashed a 26-ball 53 but it could not stop KXIP from winning by 32 runs to continue their surge.
That left the crowd at the Chinnaswamy Stadium doubly disappointed. First, Glenn Maxwell, the batsman of the IPL 7, fell before he could expode and score a big total. And after Gayle failed yet again, their hopes of the home skipper Virat Kohli bailing them out were also dashed the very next ball.
Gayle nicked Sandeep’s away going delivery to the ‘keeper and the seamer accounted for Kohli the very next ball. Kohli was given out caught behind chasing a delivery going down the leg side.
While TV replays suggested there was indeed a nick, there was drama as the umpires checked for the front foot no-ball and then whether the catch was taken cleanly by Wriddhiman Saha.
Again it seemed the ball had touched the ground before Saha claimed the catch, but the umpires ruled it was taken cleanly. It knocked the wind out of RCB’s chase. And Sandeep also snared Parthiv Patel to push RCB into a deep hole.
Miller shows class
Over the last seven matches KXIP’s fortunes have hinged on two players -- Maxwell and David Miller. Maxwell fell after a cameo, but Miller took charge cracking a 29-ball 66, (8x4, 3x6). And Punjab also underlined the consistency of the batting line-up with the top order batsmen again very consistent.
Bangalore bowlers had a bad day in office, conceding 15 runs in extras. It was 23-year-old leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal’s heroics with the ball which helped RCB to contain Punjab to below 200.
The fifth loss has left the Virat Kohli-led Bangalore, the team with a particularly destructive batting line-up, in danger of not making it to the play-offs. After this loss, they retain their sixth spot in the rankings.