Mumbai: Despite having played a crucial part in his team's comprehensive nine-wicket win with a blazing 82-run knock, Royal Challengers Bangalore opener Chris Gayle credited his team's bowlers for setting up the victory over Mumbai Indians in the IPL 5 on Wednesday.
RCB pacer R Vinay Kumar bowled a devastating first spell to reduce Mumbai to 2 for 2 by sending back opener James Franklin and Rohit Sharma in his opening over. Mumbai were eventually restricted to 141 for 6. "It was a very good wicket to bat on [when we batted], to be honest with you. First of all I must say it was a very good toss to win. The new ball tends to do a lot here. Credit must go to our bowlers, who utilised the conditions brilliantly. I would actually say our bowlers won this match for us. To restrict such a good batting line-up in the first six overs and also get key wickets was a tremendous effort," said the left-handed power-hitter.
Gayle struck six towering sixes and five fours while notching his fourth 80-plus score of the tournament and sixth half-century. The West Indian, who got the Orange Cap for becoming the leading run-getter in the tournament so far [515 from 11 games], said his side knew Lasith Malinga was the danger man for them and their plan was not to let him do the damage.
"When we batted, it was good to bat on. Only the new ball did a bit. It was key that we didn't let them in early by losing early wickets. Myself and [Tillakaratne] Dilshan played that part very well, but unfortunately we lost Dilshan and then captain [Virat Kohli] came in and we finished it off," he said.
"We know what Malinga is capable of. He was actually our toughest hurdle and [he was] looking to pick up early wickets. Our plan was not to let him do so. We knew what was actually coming at us. He is one of the best T20 bowlers in the world. Credit has to be given where it is due. We played him out well. We stuck to our plans and finished it off well," said the 32-year-old.
Gayle admitted luck was with him when fellow West Indian Dwayne Smith dropped a skier off a leading edge at point off RP Singh in the sixth over, when he was still on 21. "He does not drop many catches. That was a surprise. The ball went high, it was a tough one, even though he is a tremendous fielder. These things do happen. It was unfortunate for him and good luck for me. I was very happy he dropped it."
Gayle said that though victory had been achieved in a crucial game, what would be more important would be that RCB continue in the same vein to get into the four-team play-offs. "It's a good feeling to achieve it [the win], but what was more important was actually winning the game. It was a difficult position for us, but two wins on the trot is actually good for us, and hopefully we can continue in the same form in the next couple of games. But we need to be consistent. This is history now and we move on to the next game in Pune and hopefully continue that winning vein and give us that chance to have a shot at that
trophy," he said.