Bengaluru, May 14 (IANS) In a do-or-die match to keep their hopes alive in the Indian Premier League, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) mauled Gujarat Lions (GL) by 144 runs, setting new records and sending frenzied fans into a tizzy with a double century partnership here on Saturday.
When Lions’ stand-in skipper Brendon McCullum opted to bowl despite winning the toss and getting RCB’s out-of-form opener Chris Gayle (6) in the fourth over with its score at 19, die-hard fans felt a sense of deja vu, as the West Indian and skipper Virat Kohli made a nervous start, scoring just 10 in the first three overs.
Though the fans missed Gayle’ storm once again and jeered and booed him when he walked back to the pavilion for letting them down badly in this edition, what followed was a bloodbath, as Kohli (109 in 55 balls) and in-form AB de Villiers (129 not out in 52) tamed the Lions’ bowlers by hitting them merrily all over the ground to set an awesome target of 249 in 20 overs in front of about 30,000 fans.
“What an incredible innings RCB played in a must-win game, with their backs to the wall. I thought it was all over when Gayle got out early and Kohli took time to settle. But it was pure joy and exciting to watch him and AB treat us with amazing batting and proving that IPL T-20 in IPL is all about hitting mighty sixes and fours,” said a spellbound Mohd Fakhruddin, a post-graduate student, in the pavilion.
As the South African de Villiers took the initiative to launch the frontal assault and accelerated the score, Kohli bid for his turn to join the party and unleash mayhem all over the ground to post a record 229-run second wicket partnership in 97 balls and the highest score (248) in this IPL season.
The previous highest score (227) in this IPL season was also made by RCB at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in their opening tie that they lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 12.
Among the Lions’ seven bowlers McCullum deployed to break the record double century partnership, Dwayne Bravo and Kumar were taken to the cleaners, with de Villiers and Kohli hitting 30 runs in each of their overs by turn. They also did not spare Dhawal Kulkarni in whose third over, de Villiers hit 23 runs.
Moreover, Kohli became the first player in the history of IPL to score three hundreds in an edition.