Chris Gayle hammered the Kolkata Knight Riders bowlers into submission with a breathtaking 96 that guided Royal Challengers Bangalore to a three-wicket victory in an Indian Premier League encounter here today.
Chasing a victory target of 178, Gayle singlehandedly tore apart the home team attack as his 56 ball innings had seven boundaries and an equal number of sixes as the five-pronged KKR spin attack was taken to cleaners.
When Gayle was out, RCB still needed seven runs but Abu Nechim Ahmed (5 no) and Harshal Patel (9 no) kept their calm to see their team home with an over to spare.
Gayle was dropped by Morne Morkel while on 63 and the total on 131 for five which the ‘Big Jamaican’ capitalised fully with some meaty blows as most of his sixes went deep into the Eden Gardens stand.
Coming out to open, skipper Virat Kohli safely negotiated Morkel’s first over and in the next over by the pacer, pulled him for a six over square leg while Gayle got a boundary.
However Morkel got his revenge in the next over with a short delivery. Kohli was done in by the extra bounce as he gloved a rising delivery to Robin Uthappa having scored only 13 off 15 deliveries.
Gayle, however decided to take on KKR’s mystery spinner KC Cariappa hitting him down the ground for a six and one over mid-on for a boundary.
The 50 came in the 8th over but Yusuf Pathan got a breakthrough when an out of form Dinesh Karthik (6) decided to cut against run-of-play to get bowled.
Mandeep Singh (6) shouldn’t mind if he gets an earful from his skipper as he went for a non-existent reverse sweep having hit Pathan for a straight six as RCB suddenly slumped to 56/3 from 50/1 within a space of 4 deliveries.
AB de Villiers (28 off 13 balls) punished Cariappa for 16 runs before charged down to get stumped as RCB became 93/4 in 11 overs.
While Gayle completed his 50 off 37 balls, wickets kept falling at the other end but the marauding West Indian continued to torment the bowlers as the ‘Red Brigade’ finally romped home.