Bangalore v Mumbai, IPL 2011, 2nd qualifier, Chennai May 27, 2011

Chris Gayle carries Bangalore to final

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Royal Challengers Bangalore 185 for 4 (Gayle 89, Agarwal 41, Munaf 2-27) beat Mumbai Indians 143 for 8 (Tendulkar 40, Vettori 3-19, Aravind 2-27) by 42 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

In Jamaica the term criss is used to suggest everything is all right. Royal Challengers Bangalore may as well rename him Criss Gayle. For with Gayle, they criss. Gayle fell 11 short of his third century this IPL, but for 15 overs he played so much above the game that the 37 that came in the five after his exit didn't look far off par on this surface. Mumbai struggled to replicate Gayle's impact except with the new ball when they got off to a flying start. Gayle came on then to stifle the openers with a two-run over. The pressure resulted in wickets, everything was criss again, and Bangalore were in the final of the IPL.

When batting, Gayle was assisted by Mayank Agarwal, his 20-year-old opening partner yet to make first-class debut, who scored 41 off 31 in a 113-run opening stand. Gayle will be the first one to concede, though, that he couldn't have found a more accommodating opposition. To begin with, Mumbai Indians opted to bowl on a track where sides batting first have won six out of seven games this season. Then they refused to take the bull by its horn, throwing the new ball to Abu Nechim as opposed to Lasith Malinga. It can be argued that they succeeded in the previous game with Dhawal Kulkarni bowling the first over, but surely against a side as heavily reliant on Gayle as Bangalore they would have unleashed their best bowler right away.

Nechim can still argue he hardly bowled a bad ball in that first over, but he still went for 27. The first of the boundaries came off an edge past slip, the second burst through Sachin Tendulkar at mid-off. Nechim, though, bowled length, and Gayle took six, two and four off the rest of the over. Agarwal played his part, foiling Mumbai's other strategic move of bowling Harbhajan Singh to Gayle. Gayle faced only one delivery in Harbhajan's two overs at the start, with Agarwal dominating the strike and hitting big, down the ground and with the turn, taking 20 runs.

More friendliness followed from Mumbai as Malinga dropped Agarwal at square leg. At 57 for 0 after four, it became a Gayle show. Malinga bowled one good over full of slower ones for just one, but Gayle had his way with the rest of the bowlers. Only Rohit Sharma escaped his wrath, but Agarwal tucked into him with a four and a six. The beauty of the partnership was obvious: the right-hand batsman took care of the offspinners, Gayle everything else. The best of Gayle revealed itself in the 10th over, when Nechim was almost through a decent comeback over for four runs. The last ball, though, hardly left the ground, and yet crashed into the sight screen. Gayle was on 61 off 32 then, Bangalore 111.

Rohit dropped Agarwal in the next over, but made amends two balls later. Gayle, however, was not through, and went on to suggest that maybe he didn't need any shielding from Harbhajan, smacking him for back-to-back sixes over midwicket. Munaf, who held his own along with Malinga, eventually got rid of Gayle with a slightly slower one, and patted Gayle's back as he walked back. All of a sudden, slower balls started working, the ball started gripping the surface, inside edges appeared, and the batting seemed like hard work. Just how well Gayle batted was further driven home.

Despite the early wickets, Tendulkar, through cricketing shots and some improvisation, kept Mumbai's fans interested with 40 off 24, but ICL returnee J Syed Mohammad produced one sharp offbreak across Tendulkar to get him stumped. Kieron Pollard, who often teases the fans in such chases with late but insufficient hitting, was spectacularly and coolly caught by Abhimanyu Mithun on the edge of the long-on boundary. With the Mumbai dugout right behind him, Mithun stood with his feet six inches inside as the Mumbai extras made way for him, stretched over the boundary and completed the catch one-handed to shut the door on Mumbai. The filmstar Mithun, known for his outlandish stunts, would have been proud.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on May 30, 2011, 22:13 GMT

    Vettori is so overrated. I want to see England vs New Zealand in a test match and watch Graeme Swann show him how a real spin-bowler bowls.

  • dummy4fb on May 28, 2011, 10:59 GMT

    its sad to see dat nobody will question will sachin did so many mistakes. Had it been any other captain, he wud have been sacked by now. shame on cricketing minds who do not guts to question d guilty irrespective of d name tags. sachin shud take d responsibility and resign as a captain. he can nvr learn even d basic of captaincy.

  • dummy4fb on May 28, 2011, 8:39 GMT

    when will sachin learn. stats says 6 out of 7 batting first has won at chennai and also its a turning wicket. so why did he choose to field first and also why he didnt took another spinner murtuza?

  • dummy4fb on May 28, 2011, 8:21 GMT

    I was left shocked to see harbhajan coming at no.3..what the hell MI were thinking abour pollard,rohit sharma?? As long as MI keeps tendulkar at the helm,they can't win IPL...he is a great batsman,but not a good captain..poor man management..pollard's value showed only in the field..symonds could have done lot lot better..be it in fielding,batting or bowling..why wasn't he playing?? why wasn't malinga given the white ball straight away?? I think sachin & co feels harbhajan as an all rounder..thats too much,.,he is not taking wicket..he should have been dropped..the other day he scored 30 runs,but consumed 29 balls..what kind of thinking MI and sachin are doing?? Its quite good that RCB won..quite comprehensively

  • Sreelal_SS on May 28, 2011, 8:08 GMT

    come on,guys...y blame only Sachin?...The target was pretty chaseable considering the good start MI got while chasing, n their power-packed battin lineup..but except Sachin,others performed way below their potential....Is that his mistake?...n Pollard s always overrated...I think he was given the right position 2 bat...but he miserably failed again...!!...

  • Vnott on May 28, 2011, 8:06 GMT

    Best 2 teams have made it to the final. Shd be a close game. Mumbai had a bad form slump in the 2nd half of IPL and were lucky to make it to the final 4. Punjab would have done better and might have put it across RCB .......

    Sad to see Mumbai fans blame Sachin though. It is not poor captaincy which was the issue. Attempts to surprise Gayle with Bhajji and Ahmed wud hv been a master stroke if it had worked. Mumbai had a couple of terrible losses batting first - so Sachins choice to chase was a calculated risk - they just lost to a better team especially with the gaylestorm behind them.

  • harsha_chu on May 28, 2011, 7:29 GMT

    I was stunned that Shastri and Gavaskar had no problems sending Bhajji at No.3. Sachin's thinking here just baffles me ! There are 20 overs to chase the runs. That is 120 balls ! Logic says your best batsmen need to face the most number of balls. The only way Mumbai had a chance was to have this batting order- Rayudu, Sachin, Rohit and Pollard. How can you send Bhajji and Franklin ahead of Rohit and Pollard ? And can someone explain what is Sathish doing in the team?

  • denza on May 28, 2011, 7:12 GMT

    Time and time again Sachin tendulkar proves he is not a good captain. he did it in last years ipl final against chennai where he sent pollard when the game was all but gone, this time he chose to welcome gayle with the inexperience of nechim, then again harbhajan is good enough for a quick fire 20 not at the top of the order when u need 185. All said and done Tendulkar should make way for someone else to lead Mumbai or else the same fate awaits them again next year...

  • Prince458 on May 28, 2011, 7:11 GMT

    Can Chris Gayle be Retained by RCB in next season of IPL? I heard that they bought him for only one season this time.??

  • NickHere on May 28, 2011, 7:05 GMT

    Not just Sachin, all the press & commentators including Shastri are pretty much whats the word DUMB too. Why was he not asked WHY he bowled Nachim in the first over? Accountability is key in a captain. IF he makes a bad decision he should be asked WHY, in the presentation ceremony or even in the press conference. If he does not want to reply to that, he should not be captain. As simple as that. That over cost them the game and there is simply no sort of any logic behind it. The people of Mumbai want ACCOUNTABILITY. Will you give us that Sachin? Will someone ask him. Whats the press for then?

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