Pune Warriors v Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL, Pune May 11, 2012

Gayle, bowlers power Royal Challengers to No. 3

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20 overs Royal Challengers Bangalore 173 for 3 (Gayle 57, Dilshan 53) beat Pune Warriors 138 for 9 (Vinay 3-32, Zaheer 2-21, Murali 2-16) by 35 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Sourav Ganguly, the under-performing Pune Warriors captain, sat out of the game; Steven Smith took over the leadership; and the hosts made as many as five changes to their XI in an attempt to avert a seventh consecutive defeat. None of it dowsed the powder keg that is the Royal Challengers Bangalore batting line-up, though. Chris Gayle launched half a dozen deliveries into the crowd; Tillakaratne Dilshan anchored the innings and then accelerated it; and even Saurabh Tiwary converted an iffy start into a useful performance. A total of 173 was much too large for Pune Warriors' misfiring batsmen.

The chase was severely damaged in the first over, when Zaheer Khan struck twice, and almost certainly done for in the fourth, when Michael Clarke was dismissed. Warriors were 22 for three. The Royal Challengers bowling has struggled this season - they are the most expensive unit - and tonight's performance, albeit against a weak opponent, would have lifted them. Nine is the most wickets they've taken in an innings this season. Virat Kohli's side steamed past Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians to No. 3 in the league.

There had been rain before the toss but the shower after it was the one that delayed the start by an hour. The strong crowd stayed patient, though, and when play finally began, they were thoroughly entertained. By Gayle. He began carefully, playing three consecutive dots in debutant medium-pacer Krishnakant Upadhyay's first over. Having sussed the rookie, Gayle bookended Upadhyay's second over with long-arm sixes over extra cover and midwicket.

Gayle barely ran. Of his 31 balls, 13 were dots and nine were singles. There were no twos or threes. When he hit the ball along the ground it was brutally hard to the fielders. In the sixth over, Gayle destroyed Bhuveneshwar Kumar with four sixes - straight, midwicket, long-on and long-off. He got to his half-century in 24 balls, his quickest this season. Royal Challengers were 66 for 0 at the time and Dilshan's contribution was 11 off 13 deliveries.

Only Angelo Mathews kept Gayle quiet. After conceding three runs in his first over, Mathews had Gayle caught on the long-on boundary in his second. Mathews would finish with figures of 1 for 14 in three overs.

Warriors began to fight after Gayle's dismissal, the next 27 balls cost only 19 runs and produced Kohli's wicket. Royal Challengers' acceleration, however, resumed in the 14th over, when Dilshan and Tiwary, promoted ahead of de Villiers, scored 16. Dilshan then took a hat-trick of fours off Upadhyay.

At one point it seemed Tiwary would stagnate and de Villiers might not get to bat. Tiwary, however, began to muscle boundaries and Dilshan's dismissal for 53 brought de Villiers to the crease. After three quiet balls, he launched the final one of the innings over the straight boundary.

Ganguly's replacement, Mohnish Mishra launched the chase by driving his third ball past mid-off for four. He was trapped lbw by Zaheer Khan with the next. Zaheer then handed Manish Pandey his fourth duck of the season with one that straightened off the pitch from round the wicket and uprooted the off stump. Clarke and Gayle use the same bat-maker but Clarke's attempt at clearing the boundary ended in deep midwicket's hands. Warriors were floundering.

Robin Uthappa has had an indifferent tournament for someone who takes home $2.1 million a season, but he sparkled today. Unfortunately for Warriors, it was just that - a sparkle. They needed a searing furnace.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Aristocratt on May 12, 2012, 19:16 GMT

    Everyone's promoting the IPL at the IPL, but the one man who's the greatest advertisement for Test cricket at the IPL is M. Clarke. Go ahead, get a run a ball 15, and you've done your job Michael! Mike, are you listening?

  • dummy4fb on May 12, 2012, 13:01 GMT

    Good win for RCB.. But not to forget the chances that PWI had. they could have easily snatched the game because of PATHETIC batting by so called batsmen TIWARY. Why in the hell is he promoted up the order? Why AB come so down the order? Who in the hell would consider TIWARY as a Twenty20 specialist batsmen? He neither qualifies for One day or Test squad either. RCB you had almost lost the match y'day,.. Wake up.. Tiwary can be in playing XI and certainly can bat after ZAK.

  • dummy4fb on May 12, 2012, 12:42 GMT

    hope the IPL teams in future stop signing the BD players its so boring read about their comments continuously writing as if without them cricket can't be played-just look at what M.Clarke has in the international arena and they want him to made sit in favor of a BD player who is just about learning ABCD of the game! Hopefully... the team bosses have to think on not selecting BD players in future if they were to be appreciated by large Indian Public.

  • dummy4fb on May 12, 2012, 10:29 GMT

    GAYLE lifted UP RCB TO THIRD

  • Raja13590 on May 12, 2012, 10:09 GMT

    Hi fellas.. hope pwi managment must wake up atleast now.. As we hav seen nothing to blame Dada for those previous defeats.. its pwi atrocious batting and very generous bowling... its proved yet again... and foreign players never performed anythi for pwi i think.. ppl lik smith,clarke,ryder must get used to indian slow tracks if they wanna stay in pwi for next ipl.. and i expext more from mathews... Hope they do better next yr.. and sumthi cheer abt is uthappa.. atleast proving tat he can bat anywher irrespective of pitch.. sad thing he cant finish a good start.. Finds of the tournament B kumar,A majumdar. should they play more matches for pwi i think they wil perform well n get a chance in national side.. pl giv sum chance to tamim,ferguson,Wright(out wit dengue).. pwi really misses dinds nd yuvi.. let dem be bcak next yr to prove ther r worth ther name.... Cricket s always a team sport but captain gets d blame if team loses.. its natural as ppl who spk don play in team..

  • dummy4fb on May 12, 2012, 10:04 GMT

    @Vikram Surendra, spot on. Ab need to be in top 4. Against better opposition that could cot them. Can think of no cricketing reason for making such an explosive dominant batsman only play a few balls..If anyone can think of one, please let me know.

  • dummy4fb on May 12, 2012, 9:58 GMT

    Why the hell is Vinay kumar highlighted, out of other who perform remarkably well? What happened to Zach effort???

  • ayush.dhurka on May 12, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    To all the people who think that AB should have batted up the order, Kohli made a very good point during the presentation. RCB is looking at performing at the playoffs, and they would want all their players to be ready by then. The only reason Tiwary was promoted up the order last night was for him to gain some confidence. I'm pretty sure AB will bat up the order in the playoffs and when needed. He batted up the order against DC when it was really needed. RCB seems to have a plan and they are doing very well in executing the same. Also, RCB seems to be the best fielding side this IPL. And now their bowling seems to be getting into the groove. Though I'd want to see a good Indian all-rounder after the 6 batsmen. It's always dangerous when your tail starts from number 7.

  • vinayespn on May 12, 2012, 8:55 GMT

    Bowlers hunting in pairs and getting wickets is such an important value add for any team let alone RCB.. When bowlers take wickets, it helps in team bonding than when a batsman hits a century- as taking wickets usually involves bowler, keeper/ fielder and captaincy.. RCB was just a bunch of individual stars till now, but such decent performances from their bowlers make them strong contenders for IPL-5 title.. RCB might just be peaking at the right time here folks.. MI,DD,DC - you better watch out - here comes RCB

  • Cricinfouser on May 12, 2012, 8:40 GMT

    A lot of BD guys here are making too much noise about their "super stars" being sidelined... u guys need to get a reality check.. no offence but ur players are not good enough..

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