IPL 7: Gayle returns but Bailey gives Kings XI another win
Kings XI Punjab won their eighth match in a row — beating RCB to win a record eighth consecutive IPL match.
Result: Kings XI Punjab beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by five wickets.
Toss: Kings XI won the toss and chose to bowl first.
RCB 124-8 in 20 overs: Sandeep Sharma's (3/15), Rishi Dahwan (2/14) and Mitchell Johnson (2/19 ) ripped through the RCB top-order to leave them reeling at 26-4 in just 3.5 overs before a slight recovery due to Yuvraj Singh (35, 32b, 3x4, 1x6), AB deVilliers (17) and Albie Morkel (15) at least gave RCB a chance to fight.
Chris Gayle (20 off 7, 2x4, 2x6) may have been welcomed with the loudest cheer in the IPL so far, but he started off nervously — getting two lucky edges for four in the first three balls of the innings. He then smashed two sixes but the luck lasted for just an over — as Sharma sent a peach of a delivery his way which moved off the seam, completely beat Gayle's attempted slog and struck the off-stump.
More blows awaited RCB as they lost their skipper Virat Kohli cheaply, Sharma being the bowler again. Kohli was miffed with Billy Bowden's decision and was visibly irritated after seeing replays and returning to the dugout. 20-year-old Sharma then accounted for Parthiv Patel, before Rishi Dhawan joined in the party, removing the dangerous A B de Villiers and Yuvraj Singh in quick succession.
Pace spearhead Johnson and Balaji then struck to make matters worse for RCB.
Takawale poked at a length ball and got a thick edge that was duly taken by wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha. While going for big drive on the up, Patel edged one to the keeper, leaving RCB precariously placed at 26 for four.
RCB put up a brief resistance before de Villiers found Maxwell at backward point. The South African put on 41 runs for the fifth wicket with Yuvraj, who was dismissed by Dhawan even before the batting team could cross 100.
Albie Morkel (15) and Varun Aaron (11) took the score past 120.
KXIP 127-5 in 18.5 overs: Cheteshwar Pujara's cover drive was played with sublime ease — but the rest of Kings XI's run-chase was anything but easy. With Virender Sehwag (32 in 26b, 4x4) playing at a steady pace, Pujara was in no hurry to score — however, his half-hearted jab outside the off-stump took an edge and Ashok Dinda was celebrating a caught-behind.
Wridhhiman Saha and Glen Maxwell then fell to fantastic Mitchell Starc catches — both in Varun Aaron's overs. Saha's flick of his pads towards fine-leg saw Starc running towards the ball, collecting it and then remarkably maintaining his balance inches from the rope. Eight balls later, Starc dived at full-stretch to collect Maxwell's shot in the same area just above the ground. Suddenly, RCB were in it.
David Miller (26 runs off 20b, 4x4) and Sehwag settled the ship but leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal bowled a fine spell to rock it. Miller was first completely bamboozled by a googly before Sehwag was removed — albeit after debatable caught behind decision.
With the scoreboard reading 88-5 after Sehwag's wicket, it was left to George Bailey (15) and R Dhawan (19) needed to see off the challenge — which was 37 runs from 42 balls.
We've seen so many teams lose their cool during easy chases, but Miller and Dhawan patiently stitched up a partnership — the latter slapping a four through mid-wicket to bring up a historic eighth win in a row.
Turning point: The second over of RCB's innings — where some brilliant bowling from Sandeep Sharma saw Gayle and Kohli walk back to the pavilion.
Man of the match: Sandeep Sharma. Fiery pace and accuracy.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 plunged into a deeper crisis on Tuesday when BCCI confirmed that the tournament was suspended indefinitely due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in India.
The BCCI was forced to suspend the lucrative T20 tournament indefinitely midway into the season after multiple cases of the dreaded virus were reported inside the bio-bubble.
IPL 2021: RCB players, support staff leave for their respective destinations after league's suspension
RCB skipper Virat Kohli reached Mumbai on Tuesday, the day IPL-14 was indefinitely suspended due to multiple COVID cases in its bio-bubble. By Thursday early morning, all the other playing and non-playing staff had also left for their onward destinations.