James Fiztpatrick | cricket20
Chris Gayle scored a stunning century to help the Royal Challengers Bangalore snap their 3 game losing streak after a comfortable 9 wicket victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens.
Having only joined up with his teammates this week after his very public fall out with the West Indies Cricket Board, Gayle announced his arrival in the IPL by smashing 10 fours and 7 sixes during a devastating spell of batting.
The century, which was reached in 55 deliveries also see’s Gayle join Brendon McCullum and Mahela Jayawardene as the only batsman to score an international t20 century and an IPL century.
Before Gayle struck, Gautam Gambhir (48), Yusuf Pathan (46) and Jacques Kallis (40) had looked to put the Knight Riders in control of the game after the visitors reached 171-5.
Faced with a large run chase the Royal Challengers got off to a good start thanks to Chris Gayle and Tillakaratne Dilshan who shared an opening stand of 123.
Gayle announced his arrival in this year’s tournament by dispatching Shakib Al Hasan for two massive sixes in the 8th over before he unleashed a monstrous six off the bowling of Yusuf Pathan which sailed over deep midwicket to bring up Gayle’s half century.
With Gayle at his hard hitting best the Royal Challengers raced past 100 in the 10th over thanks to the West Indian all rounder who smashed Manoj Tiwary’s first two deliveries of the game back over the bowlers head for sixes.
Although Lakshmipathy Balaji struck in the 13th over to remove Dilshan (38) the Royals Challengers cruised to victory thanks to a 2nd wicket partnership of 52 between Gayle and Virat Kohli (30).
The game didn’t get off to the best of starts for the Royal Challengers after Zaheer Khan conceded 19 runs from his first over which included three wides to help Kallis get off to a flying start.
Brad Haddin, playing in his first game for the home side increased the pressure on the Royal Challengers in the next over by dispatching Sreenath Aravind for a six and a boundary.
Having conceded 33 runs from the opening two overs Royal Challengers skipper, Vettori brought spinner Syed Mohammad into the attack to slow Kallis and Haddin down.
The plan worked to perfection when Haddin (18) was caught by Virat Kohli at point after he tried to loft a delivery from Syed Mohammad over mid off at the end of the spinners second over to leave the Knight Riders 44-1.
Despite the loss Kallis and Gambhir increased the pressure on the visitors with a second wicket partnership of 58 which was only broken by Vettori in the 14th over after Kallis (40) was caught by Chris Gayle in the covers.
Gambhir quickly followed when he was dismissed by Sreenath Aravind before Pathan increased the Knight Riders hold on the game with some destructive batting during the final few overs.
The big hitting all rounder smashed Aravind for 2 boundaries and a massive six over long off in the 18th over before Khan conceded another boundary in the penultimate over.
New batsman Eoin Morgan added 4 runs before Pathan’s innings was brought to an end in the final over thanks to Kohli who took an excellent running catch on the long off boundary.
Morgan (6) followed two deliveries later after his was run out from the last ball of the innings to leave the Royals Challengers facing a run chase of 172 to snap their three game losing streak.