x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Indian Premier League: Bangalore ride on Gayle to beat Mumbai in thriller

An unbeaten 92 from the opener proved just enough to go past despite a fighting knock of 60 from Dinesh Karthik in last-over drama.

File shot of Royal Challengers Bangalore's Chris Gayle from last year. He played a devastating knock of 92 not out last night. Aijaz Rahi / AP Photo
File shot of Royal Challengers Bangalore's Chris Gayle from last year. He played a devastating knock of 92 not out last night. Aijaz Rahi / AP Photo

A jinx-breaking last-ball win, a hitherto unknown bowler who shone on the big stage, and a surreal moment when Test cricket’s highest wicket-taker bowled an over to Test cricket’s two highest run-getters, were all put in the shade by a man who hobbled on one foot during yet another match-winning innings that reiterated his status as the supreme batsman of the Twenty20 format.

Jasprit Bumrah bowled with a quirky action and struck gold, Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting walked out side-by-side and took on Muttiah Muralitharan, but Chris Gayle’s 92 not out off 58 balls ensured that Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Mumbai Indians for the first time at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, gasping to the post by just two runs in a tense finish that saw Dinesh Karthik’s fantastic 60 off 37 balls go in vain.

Put in to bat on a greenish pitch, Bangalore’s innings began with Mitchell Johnson getting prodigious seam movement and cleaning up Tillakaratne Dilshan in his second over.

Bumrah had an unforgettable initiation in what was his first outing on such a big stage, being carted for three boundaries in his first four balls and then trapping Virat Kohli lbw with his fifth.

Bumrah, 19, was to finish with 3 for 32, adding the scalps of Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair, vindicating the team management’s decision to include him in the starting XI ahead of more pedigreed bowlers.

Gayle, who stayed though the initial fall of wickets, did not find his range at the start. That changed when he was in a collision with Harbhajan Singh in 10th over and hurt his leg. Clearly in pain for the rest of the innings, Gayle just about hobbled between the wickets.

The downside for Mumbai was that the injury gave Gayle the incentive to score exclusively in boundaries. On 23 from 22 balls at the time, Gayle scored 69 from 36 balls in the final ten overs of the innings.When Mumbai batted, Ponting and Tendulkar pulled out vintage shots. But when they both fell shortly after a half-century stand, Bangalore were back in the game.

However, they had not reckoned with Karthik’s batting skills. Karthik was particularly severe on Daniel Christian, who went for 24 runs in the 17th over, but with ten runs required off the final over, Vinay Kumar got both Karthik and Ambati Rayudu.

Kieron Pollard brought nerves to fraying point when hit a straight boundary with eight needed off two balls, but he could only manage a single off the final ball, acknowledged by the sound of a stadium erupting in joy.

Bangalore have broken the jinx, and though Mumbai might have had a stronger team on paper, one man’s presence in the red Bangalore jersey ensured a fine victory.

Saurabh Somani is Assistant Editor at Wisden India.

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