Gayle force powers Royal Challengers to victory

Playing at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, the left-handed opener finished on an unbeaten 85 from a mere 50 deliveries, leading Royal Challengers to their target of 155 with 15 balls left in the innings.

Opting to bowl first, the hosts restricted the defending champions to 154 for eight, with captain Gautam Gambhir top scoring with 59 from 46 balls, and Yusuf Pathan (27) and Manoj Tiwary (23) giving support.

In reply, Royal Challengers lost Mayank Agarwal for six with the score on 12 in the third over, but Gayle single-handedly erased any thought of a Chennai victory with his blitzkrieg.

Gayle, voted Man-of-the-Match, smashed four fours and nine sixes and posted his half-century off just 32 balls, as he engaged in two partnerships along the way. He added 63 for the second wicket with Virat Kohli (35) before dominating an 83-run, third wicket stand with AB de Villiers who was unbeaten on a run-a-ball 22 at the end.

Ironically, the only bowler spared Gayle’s wrath was West Indies teammate Narine whose four overs cost a miserly 17 runs.

In the day’s second match in Pune, Trinidadian Kevin Cooper sent down four overs of medium pace for 26 runs but failed to prevent his Rajasthan Royals from sliding to a seven wicket loss to Pune Warriors with seven balls remaining.

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