Gayle powers Bangalore into final

28 May 2011 by Raj in IPL 2011

Bangalore Royal Challengers 185 for 4 beat Mumbai Indians 143 for 8 by 42 runs

Man of the match: Chris Gayle

And Chris did it again! Bangalore sealed their spot in the finals of IPL 4 thanks to yet another magnificent effort from their ‘man Friday’ Chris Gayle. Co-incidentally, it was a Friday as well. The West Indian swashbuckler slammed 89 murderous runs to guide Bangalore to a match winning score. Gayle was dismissed 11 runs short of what would have been his third IPL ton this season. And after his dismissal, Bangalore struggled to up the ante. Even so his performance was enough to end up as the difference the two big sides.

Mumbai could not answer to Gayle’s exploit with the bat and eventually fell short by 42 runs. The openers did get off to a great start, but Gayle played his part with the ball too, bowling a tight over which produced just two runs. Following that the pressure built up and the innings started crumbing. Everything went according to plan for the Royal Challengers post the opening stand by Mumbai openers, which meant that Vijay Mallya’s team easily made it to the final of the tournament, which has produced some very ordinary cricket.

Though Gayle contributed in the field as well, it was his effort with the bat which, undoubtedly, made all the difference. Gayle also helped his opening partner, Mayank Agarwal, find his feet. The 20-year-old Agarwal wasn’t overawed by the occasion and contributed a handsome 41 off 31 in an excellent 113-run opening partnership, which set the tone of the game for both sides. Bangalore were rarely the second best after that.

Of course, the batting side was assisted in a big way by Mumbai Indians’ bowlers and some of their captains’ baffling tactics. First of all, Sachin Tendulkar elected to bowl first on a track where the side batting first has lost all but one game. Even more shocking was the fact that the new ball was given to Abu Nechim ahead of the best bowler of the tournament, Lasith Malinga. And they had to pay and extremely heavy price for it, that of losing the match itself.

Nechim tried his best to keep the Bangalore openers under check. Yet, he ended up conceding 27 runs. The first four came when an edge went past the slip region, another beat skipper Tendulkar, who was patrolling the mid-off area. This got worse for Nechim as Gayle slammed a six and an easy four and the tone of the game was set. At the other end, Agarwal took on Harbhajan Singh and came out first. Agarwal took most of the balls from Harbhajan’s first two overs, crashing him straight down the ground and also hitting with the turn. The World Cup winning off spinner was rather clueless.

For a change, Mumbai were shabby in the field too. Malinga dropped a catch offered by Agarwal at square leg. 57 came in the first four overs and then Gayle took on the other bowlers as well. In between, Malinga bowled and excellent over which went for a solitary run. However, the others were picked up for special treatment. Rohit Sharma bowled a few tight deliveries, before Agarwal launched for a four and a six. The first ten overs of the innings produced 111 runs, which culminated with Gayle slashing Nechim into the side screen for yet another maximum.

After dropping Agarwal, Rohit finally was the one who got. However, Gayle continued on his merry ways lofting a clueless Harbhajan for four consecutive sixes, all in the midwicket region. Munaf Patel finally managed to help Mumbai see the back of Gayle. A slower one foxed him as he missed a well deserved ton. Following Gayle’s dismissal, the runs dried down. The balls started playing tricks and suddenly Mumbai were left wondering why they couldn’t do the same earlier. Sadly, they knew the answer too. The Gayle effect.

During the tough chase, Tendulkar kept Mumbai in the hunt briefly. He played some proper cricketing shots and improvised as well during his impressive knock of 40 which came in just 24 balls. However, J Syed Mohammad turned out to be the hero for Bangalore as he managed to turn one sharply across Tendulkar and get his stumped, a rarity in cricket. The result struggled. Kieron Pollard, who has done nothing in the tournament, had one last chance to turn hero, but failed again. He was caught brilliantly in the deep by Abhimanyu Mithun, who lunged full stretch over the boundary and managed to claim a brilliant catch. By now though Bangalore were already celebrating as the match was over long before.

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