x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Royal Challengers top IPL table after Chennai win

Chris Gayle smashes an unbeaten 75 as Royal Challengers Bangalore beat their play-off rivals Chennai Super Kings in the penultimate league match.

Chris Gayle, left, and Virat Kohli celebrate beating Chennai by eight wickets in their final IPL league match.
Chris Gayle, left, and Virat Kohli celebrate beating Chennai by eight wickets in their final IPL league match.

BANGALORE // Chris Gayle smashed an unbeaten 75 as Royal Challengers Bangalore topped the points table with an eight-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League.

The West Indian Gayle's  50-ball knock consisted of six sixes and four boundaries to guide the hosts to 129 for two in 18 overs after the Super Kings were restricted to 128 for eight off 20 overs on a lively pitch.

Bangalore will again play the second-placed Chennai (18 points, NRR 0.443) in Mumbai tomorrow for a spot in Saturday’s final after Mumbai Indians (18 points, NRR 0.040) pulled off a come-from-behind five-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders (16 points) last night.

“Gayle has been responsible for the turnaround; he has been outstanding,” Daniel Vettori, the Royal Challengers captain, said.

“Our fielding and bowling has been good as well, especially [pacemen] Zaheer [Khan] today.”

Super Kings collapsed to 22 for four after being put into bat, with Zaheer dismissing Michael Hussey and Suresh Raina, the in-form batsmen, for four each.

MS Dhoni, the Chennai captain, lashed a 40-ball 70 not out with six sixes and three fours, but Challengers were always on top, taking wickets at regular intervals.

Dhoni put on 42 for the fifth wicket with Wriddhiman Saha (22) before Virat Kohli provided the crucial breakthrough. Vettori, the New Zealand left-arm spinner, and the seamer Sreenath Aravind finished with two wickets each.

Dhoni hit Abhimanyu Mithun, Bangalore’s third seamer, for two sixes and a four to lift the Chennai’s score in the final over.

The Bangalore innings got off to a poor start as South Africa’s AB de Villiers fell to Ravichandran Ashwin, the off-spinner, for nought. But Gayle, the left-handed opening batsman, and Kohli (31) put on 80 for the second wicket.

Gayle hit two sixes in one over off the Australian left-arm paceman Doug Bollinger and reached his 50 with a boundary off the West Indian Dwayne Bravo. Gayle, the man of the match, smashed the off-spin of Raina for a six and a four to bring up the victory.

“If you are four to five down in the start, it is always catch-up in this format,” Dhoni said.

“We tried to get a decent total on the board in the end. It was doing a bit in the first few overs. We should have delayed the attack.”