(The Times Of India)
Kochi Tuskers Kerala may have run Royal Challengers Bangalore close in the opening match in Kochi but on Sunday afternoon at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, they were simply rolled over by the men in the new green outfits.
That there wouldn’t be much of a contest once the visitors had been restricted to a meagre 125/9 was almost given.
But then Chris Gayle took it upon himself to ensure the evening became a total mismatch, by taking 37 runs off the third over of the RCB innings. The Tuskers were left looking toothless then and there, RCB eventually stomping home off the first ball of the 14th over, with as many as nine wickets to spare.
The win catapults RCB into the third position on the points table just below KKR whom they host next Saturday.
Poor Prashanth Parameshwaran bore the brunt of the assault by Gayle (44, 16b, 3×4, 5×6), the left-arm seamer’s first over reading 6, 6 (+ NB), 4,4,6,6, 4. At that point, the match seemed set to be finished within the first six overs of Powerplay itself as just before that mayhem took place, Gayle’s partner too had got going.
Mahela Jayawardene, who had earlier left out S Sreesanth from the playing eleven, had opted to have his replacement Ramesh Powar bowl the second over of the innings, only to see his fellow Sri Lankan Tillakaratne Dilshan take 20 runs off the offie.
Contrast all that with the Tuskers failing to get even one boundary post the one Raiphi Gomez scored off Daniel Vettori in the 16th over and the total domination of RCB from almost the word go becomes clear.
The only things that went the Tuskers’ way was the toss and a decent start by Michael Klinger and Brendon McCullum who put on 43 off 5.3 overs. But even that didn’t turn to be of any advantage, thanks to some tight RCB bowling and outstanding catching. The Kochi cause was set back to a point from where there was no return.
RCB’s two left-armers, the fast improving S Arvind and skipper Vettori were the key to the bowling, conceding a total of 44 runs from their eight overs besides picking up four wickets between them.
Vettori pulled off a tough skier too with Zaheer Khan and Mohammed Kaif plucking out the two possible Kochi dangermen, Brad Hodge and Ravindra Jadeja, with superb efforts.
Gayle then took over, and for a welcome change, found support from Dilshan (52 not out, 31b, 8×4, 1×6), who was into his last game of this year’s IPL.