Gayle storm blows away Warriors

Bangalore, April 23 (IANS) Opener Chris Gayle smashed a spectacular and record-breaking unbeaten 66-ball 175 (13×4, 17×6) as Royal Challengers Bangalore humbled Pune Warriors India by 130 runs for their sixth win in the Indian Premier League (IPL) here Tuesday.

Courtesy Gayle storm, RCB, asked to bat first, piled up 263 for five, the highest team total in T20 format and the visitors slid to their sixth defeat in eight matches after making 133 for nine with Gayle completing a fine day’s work by picking up two wickets, bowling the final over.

RCB, with six wins, all at home, moved to the top of the table with 12 points and more importantly, a healthy Net Run Rate.

Gayle smashed virtually every T20 record, notably the highest individual score, the fastest century, and most number of sixes in an innings on way to his fourth IPL century as RCB piled on a record total after the Jamaican volcano and Tillakaratne put on 167, the highest for their team, in just 13.4 overs for the first wicket.

Among the only bowlers who could contain the onslaught were new ball bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar who conceded just eight runs in his first spell of three overs, but went for 15 in his fourth, and fellow-seamer Luke Wright whose four overs cost just 26.

Undoubtedly, it was a Gayle show from start to finish and even the brief stoppage in the second over due to light showers, did not upset the big West Indian’s rhythm. So much so that skipper Finch was at a loss with Gayle in such form.

It was as brutal an attack as one could imagine in a cricket match as Gayle, who had flopped in the two away games making four (Chennai) and one (Hyderabad), stroked his way to 50 in the fifth over, raced to 100 by the ninth and 150 in the 15th to reduce the Warriors to helpless spectators.

After Dilshan’s departure, skipper Virat Kohli (11) lasted a while before being run out and then AB de Villiers smashed an eight-ball 31 to further shred the Warriors bowling that had some consolation as Ashoke Dinda picked up two wickets in the final over — but by then, the damage had been done.

The Warriors’ chase was never really on and the second ball dismissal of local boy Robin Uthappa followed by the exits of Finch (18), Yuvraj Singh (16) and Wright (7) by the sixth over, effectively ended their challenge.

The rest of the game was a mere formality while Steve Smith (41) and Mitchell Marsh (25) chanced their arm, but their knocks merely delayed the inevitable.

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