When Gayle faces chin music
Muttiah Muralitharan has become largely a defensive bowler since giving up the whites and embarking on a freelance Twenty20 career. He was economical again for Royal Challengers Bangalore, but he produced a spot of attacking magic reminiscent of the Murali of old, to take his only wicket. Parthiv Patel had begun well for Sunrisers Hyderabad, but Muralitharan went around the wicket to the left-handed batsman in the eighth over, and tossed up a slow delivery, on a driving length. Patel let fly with a big cover drive, but the ball dipped to pitch before the batsman had anticipated, and broke back in sharply to evade the bat and clip off stump.
Chris Gayle generally puts so much power into his strokes that even mis-hits routinely sail over the ropes, but his first boundary against Sunrisers was fashioned in an entirely different method. Dale Steyn overpitched his first delivery on off stump, and Gayle pushed back at the delivery with an open face - almost in defence. He had timed the shot so well though, that the ball traveled wide of mid-off to the fence at a pace more befitting a full-blooded drive.
Gayle may have scored the initial victory, but the best pace bowler in the world did not allow him to have his way in the fourth over, when he delivered a bouncer that would have challenged even the best Test batsmen. Worryingly quick, the ball reared up from short of a length, and though Gayle initially hung his bat in front of his body to fend it away, he soon realised the ball had bounced more than expected and that evasion would be a better course of action. He dropped his gloves at the last split second, and the ball hit him square on the shoulder, where his gloves had just been.
The long hop
AB de Villiers is quickly gaining a reputation of the best batsman across all formats and has been particularly effective as a finisher. Despite contributing to a fine third-wicket partnership that put his side on course for a win, he will be disappointed at the manner of his demise. Virat Kohli had struck Cameron White for a six and a four earlier in the 12th over, but when White served up a short ball to de Villiers, he could only bludgeon it flat and hard to deep midwicket.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here