Explosive opener Chris Gayle smacked an unbeaten 70 as the Royal Challengers Bangalore thrashed the Rajasthan Royals by nine wickets in the Indian Premier League (IPL) to consolidate their playoff chances.
The West Indies’ batsman continued his fairytale run, clobbering six fours and four sixes in his 44-ball knock to help Bangalore overhaul a 147-run target with three overs to spare at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.
Gayle has played a huge role in reviving his team’s fortunes ever since he was roped in as a replacement for the injured Dirk Nannes last month, guiding the franchise to their sixth win in a row.
With 398 runs in his kitty, the left-hander has now surged to second in the run-getters list with two centuries and one fifty.
The win moved Bangalore to second in the table, one point adrift of leaders Mumbai Indians (16), while Rajasthan slumped to their third consecutive defeat, denting their chances of advancing in the tournament.
Rajasthan skipper Shane Warne, playing his last home game in the tournament, was left to rue a dropped catch of Gayle when the batsman was on 13.
Virat Kohli, leading Bangalore in the absence of an injured Daniel Vettori, chipped in with 39 not out and opener Tillakaratne Dilshan made 38.
The hosts earlier frittered away a bright start given by openers Shane Watson (34) and Rahul Dravid (37), who put on 73 runs inside the first 10 overs before being dismissed in the space of three balls by Sreenath Aravind.
Aravind returned to send back in-form South African all-rounder Johan Botha, who nicked the left-arm paceman, to wicketkeeper Arun Karthik for a 20-ball 19 including just one boundary.
New Zealand’s batting star Ross Taylor (13) also failed to fire, falling to a slower ball from South African speedster Charl Langveldt while attempting to clear the ropes.