On this day nine years ago, it was a 25-year old Brendon McCullum who introduced Indian fraternity to Indian Premier League (IPL) with an innings of 158* of just 73 deliveries. McCullum and Gujarat Lions owner himself would not have thought that nine years down the lane they would need the same sort of innings from him.
The then active member of New Zealand cricket team tried to keep the flame of that sort of show lightened till 88th delivery of Gujarat’s innings but the destiny had already decided the end result. Neither we saw a deja vu of that innings nor Gujarat won.
Gujarat Lions lost their fourth game of the tournament to be relegated to the last rank in the points table. They lost the game by a margin of 21 runs, thanks to a masterly show from RCB’s batting roster.
In a chase to the huge target of 214, Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith came to open the proceedings for Gujarat.
Dwayne Smith, who scored a duck in the previous game continued his lean patch in this game as well. After leaking 17 runs in the only over he bowled, he was dismissed for just one, which showed that he did not have a great day out for his team.
Skipper Raina knew that he has to go ‘Highway’ and he started his innings at the top gear. Within a matter of seven balls, he was reeling his boat on 23 but Yuzvendra Chahal put a break on his innings when he teased him to go after him once more and Raina was caught at the short fine leg.
It was a big blow for the home side, as his cameo though did not guarantee but initiated hopes of a win for Gujarat.
After his dismissal. Brendon McCullum opened his arms but in the and was mustering runs for the team. Despite the lack of support from the other end, McCullum kept the interest of fans instilled in the game. He was playing his natural game of cricket and was hitting the ball hard. It was an unfair call to expect McCullum to pull off a heist alone and in the end, in the quest to clear the ropes, McCullum found himself caught by Adam Milne off Yuzvendra Chahal at a score of 72.
The rest of line-up was just trying to minimise the difference of runs between two sides and Gujarat found themselves short by 21 runs at the closure. Ishan Kishan though deserves a special applause, as the lone ranger played an innings of 39 off 16, to show he is not a number seven batsman.
Had skipper Suresh Raina would have promoted Kishan in the batting line-up, the result might have been different.
Earlier in the evening, it was just a matter of time for Chris Gayle, as the moment he scored those three magical runs to cross the 10,000 run mark, he shrugged off the 50 kg pressure from his shoulders that had been keeping him subdued under pressure for long.
The first ball Gayle faced past the record was a six that flew over the ropes. The self-proclaimed ‘World Boss’ then started to give T20 classes to Gujarat bowlers along with Virat Kohli, as both of them started playing huge shots. The run-rate of RCB raised swiftly and at the end of 10 overs, the visitors sat at a comfortable score of 92 with Gayle batting at 52 at a strike rate of 200.0.
Gayle was looking good for his sixth century in Indian Premier League but a superb spell from Basil Thampi threatened and finally dashed his hopes, as the record-breaking man was trapped in front of stumps at a score of 77 off just 38 deliveries. Thampi needs equal praise, as the Keralite was right on the mark and did not give anything to Gayle to open his arm.
Gayle’s dismissal did not act as a barrier for Bangalore. Travis Head, the succeeding batsman started from where Gayle left. For the first 10 deliveries, he batted at a strike rate of more than 200, grinding out boundaries from weak looking bowling attack on a pitch full of runs.
Kedar Jadhav, who came after Kohli’s dismissal took his time at the start but once he settled himself in the middle, he was looking the shorter version of Gayle. as he slammed Andrew Tye for 18 runs in the penultimate over of the innings to surge the batting run-rate.
He put curtains to RCB’s innings impeccably with four, a six and another four in the last over, on what can be called as just throwing the ball act from Ravindra Jadeja. Jadeja was just aiming at the spots he wanted to, with no intent to spin it.
The high score was enough for RCB to deflate Gujarat Lions and seal their second win of the tournament.
Brief Score: Royal Challengers Bangalore 213/2 (Chris Gayle 77, Suresh Raina 64; Basil Thampi 1-31) defeat Gujarat Lions 192/7 (Brendon McCullum 72, Ishan Kishan 39; Yuzvendra Chahal 3-31) by runs at SCA stadium in Rajkot.