Bangalore, Apr 29: Royal Challengers Bangalore rode on Virat Kohli's whirlwind half century and Chris Gayle's blitzkrieg to notch up a comfortable 26-run win over Pune Warriors in the Indian Premier League (IPL) here today.
Put into bat, Kohli smashed 67 off 42 balls after Gayle laid the foundation with 49 off a mere 26 deliveries, to lead the home team's challenge at the Chinnaswamy stadium.In reply, Pune could not not manage more than 155 for five in their stipulated 20 overs, despite a fighting fifty from Jesse Ryder and a quick-fire 23-ball 41 from skipper Yuvraj Singh.
Ryder hit four fours and two sixes while Yuvraj's knock included two fours and three sixes.
Earlier, Kohli smashed four boundaries and as many sixes during his stay at the crease while Gayle found the ropes three times and cleared it the same number of times.
After a quiet first over, Tillakaratne Dilshan scored the first boundary of the Bangalore innings, when he drove Jerome Taylor's short of length delivery through the covers.
Thereafter, till the last ball of the ninth over, the show completely belonged to Gayle, who unleashed an array of hefty blows, leaving the opposition bowlers hapless, and the home crowd delighted.
On the receiving end of Gayle's furious onslaught was Kamran Khan who conceded 47 runs in his three overs.The big-hitting West Indies opener picked the left-arm seamer for 20 runs, including two massive sixes and two boundaries, in the innings' third over.
After being welcomed with a four over extra cover, Kamran was sent over long-off for the maximum. He then bowled a short one, which was smashed over long-on by the marauding left-hander.
More misery was in store for Kamran as he conceded two more sixes and a boundary in the sixth over and his second.The over-pitched one was sent soaring over the backward point, the short of length delivery was thumped over long-on while length balls were whacked through the midwicket region.
Leg-spinner Rahul Sharma removed Dilshan and Gayle in quick succession but Kohli had other ideas.The stylish right-hander from Delhi pummeled Kamran's length ball over long-on for and six, and moments later, did the same to Sharma.
Kohli then picked Taylor for two more sixes, the first one over square leg and the next over third man.Kohli was literally toying with the Pune bowlers till he holed out to Harpreet Singh off Alfonso Thomas in the penultimate over.
Taylor bowled a tight last over—in which only six runs were scored—to prevent Bangalore from racing to an even bigger total. But it didn't matter in the end as the target of 182 proved to be too uphill a task for the visitors, whose cause was not helped by a sluggish start.Picked in place of Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine consumed 17 deliveries for his eight runs before Sreenath Aravind ended his stay.
Jesse Ryder started on positive note, scoring a few boundaries, but they needed more than that to stay in the hunt.Ryder was in his elements during his 34-ball stay at wicket but the steep asking rate proved to be too much for Pune.
The burly New Zealander smashed Abhimanyu Mithun for a six and four in the 11th over and before that, slashed Bangalore's pace spearhead Zaheer Khan over third man for the maximum. He followed that up with a hoick over over long-on for four.
With the asking rate rising with every over, Ryder had no option but to go for the big ones and, in trying to go for one too many, he ended up giving a catch to Mohammad Kaif at midwicket boundary off the bowling of Syed Mohammad.
After Ryder's dismissal, skipper Yuvraj Singh gave it his best shot and gave Bangalore a scare with some lusty blows.He sashayed down the track and against Zaheer for a boundary and then, hoicked Daniel Vettori over long-on for a six.
Yuvraj's best came when he smashed Syed Mohammad for two massive sixes and a boundary to give his team a glimmer of hope.But all hopes of a Pune victory went up in smoke when Zaheer removed Yuvraj with a ball that cramped the batsman for room.A couple of lofty blows towards the end from Robin Uthappa helped Pune to reduce the margin but could not avoid a fifth straight defeat.As against Pune's two wins and five losses from seven matches, Bangalore now have four wins from eight games.PTI