Gayle fashions Royal Challengers’ nine-wicket win over Mumbai Indians

Mumbai, May 10: Royal Challengers kept alive their hopes of a play-off berth beating Mumbai Indians comprehensively by nine wickets in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Wankhede Stadium here Wednesday.

Royal Challengers easily chased down the target of 142 runs losing just one wicket and with 12 balls to spare. Their destructive opening batsman Chris Gayle remained unbeaten on 82 off 59 balls, hitting five fours and six sixes. Gayle was also adjudged Man of the Match.

The win propelled Royal Challengers from the seventh spot to the fourth with 13 points from 12 matches. Mumbai Indians remained at the third spot with 14 points also from 12 matches.

It was an all-round performance that helped Royal Challengers dominate the Champions League T20 winners in their first clash of the season and snap their three-match winning streak.

Opting to bowl, a disciplined bowling performance helped Royal Challengers restrict Mumbai Indians to 141 for six in 20 overs.

Sri Lanka’s spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan (2-24), medium pacers Vinay Kumar (2-34) and Harshal Patel (2-24) struck for Royal Challengers but the pick of the bowlers was fast bowler Zaheer Khan who gave away just 16 runs from his four overs.

While chasing, Royal Challengers made a cautious start with Gayle and Tillekaratne Dilshan (19) adding 48 runs for the first wicket.

Gayle placed his innings well. The maverick West Indian first carefully saw off fast bowler Lasith Malinga’s first spell and launched himself into Pragyan Ojha (1-25), hitting the left-arm spinner for three consecutive sixes as 22 runs came off the 11th over.

Gayle and stand-in skipper Virat Kohli (36 not out) added 94-run stand for the unbroken second wicket stand that took Royal Challengers home safely.

Earlier put in, Dinesh Karthik was the top scorer for Mumbai Indians with 44 while Sachin Tendulkar (24) and Ambati Rayudu (22) got starts but could not convert it to a big innings.

Big hits by skipper Harbhajan Singh (20 not out) and Kieron Pollard (21 not out) helped Mumbai Indians get to a fighting total.

Mumbai Indians made a poor start as Vinay Kumar struck twice in the second over to remove James Franklin (1) and Rohit Sharma to reduce the hosts to 2-2. From then on it was a struggle for Mumbai Indians to keep the scoreboard ticking.

Tendulkar finally broke the shackles in the sixth over hitting Vinay Kumar for three consecutive fours as 13 runs came off it. Vinay Kumar’s first spell read 2-16 from his three overs.

Vinay Kumar, however, received some treatment from the big hitting Pollard in the last over that spoilt his figures. Pollard smashed Vinay Kumar for two massive sixes in the last over that went for 18 overs.

IANS