Rajkot, April 18 (IANS) Jamaican big-hitter Chris Gayle signalled his return to form with a 38-ball 77 to help Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) post a mammoth 213/2 against Gujarat Lions in an Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 match at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Tuesday.
Put into bat, the visitors got off to a thunderous start with Gayle and skipper Virat Kohli (64) putting on 122 runs in 13 overs as the Gujarat bowlers failed to find an answer to the onslaught.
Kedar Jadhav (38 not out of 16 balls) and Travis Head (30 not out of 16) then finished off the proceedings in style with a 54-run unbeaten third wicket stand.
Coming into the match, just 3 runs short of becoming the first batsman to get 10,000 T20 runs, Gayle reached the landmark slicing a good length delivery from pacer Basil Thampi through point down to third man for a single.
There was no looking back from there on as the West Indian turned on the heat, dealing mostly in fours and sixes.
The 37-year-old met out special treatment to left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, milking him for 21 runs in his very first over before getting to his first half century of the season off a mammoth 104-metre six from chinaman Shivil Kaushik.
There was no stopping the southpaw, who took his West Indian teammate Dwayne Smith to the cleaners for two massive sixes as RCB crossed the 100-run mark in the 11th over.
Sensing the danger, Gujarat skipper Suresh Raina threw the ball to his most economical bowler Thampi and the Kerala pacer delivered on the third ball of his new spell.
For the first time in his innings, Gayle, who by now had struck five boundaries and seven massive sixes, looked uncomfortable with Thampi’s yorkers.
On the second ball of the over, Thampi got one right on the blockhole only for Gayle to play it safely before bowling another the next ball to bring the West Indian’s downfall.
Kohli, who till now was enjoying Gayle’s power hitting from the other end, got down to business to get to his second half century of this year’s IPL.
The 28-year-old looked good with his trademark drives and cuts to raise a 37-run second wicket stand with Head before pacer Dhawal Kulkarni’s slower delivery did the trick for the home side.
Kohli, who had faced 50 balls and struck seven boundaries and a six, failed to generate pace and hole out to Smith at deep midwicket.
The captain’s dismissal brought in an in-form Jadhav, who grabbed the opportunity with both hands. He showed no mercy on the bowlers, dispatching them out of the park on two occasions besides hitting five fours as the visitors milked 35 runs from the final two overs.
Brief Scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 213/2 (Chris Gayle 77, Virat Kohli 64, Kedar Jadhav 38 not out, Basil Thampi 1/31) vs Gujarat Lions.