Chris Gayle (87) and AB de Villiers (52) guided Royal Challengers Bangalore to an easy victory over Kings XI Punjab in the match number 25 of the Indian Premier League season five at Mohali on Friday. Gayle and de Villiers shared a 131-run partnership after Bangalore lost three wickets in quick succession early in the innings.
Bangalore stuttered early in chase of 164 after losing three quick wickets early in the innings. Parvinder Awana led Bangalore trouble by claiming all first three wickets to leave the RCB struggling at 25/3 in 5.1 overs. Punjab's seamer struck twice in his first over to dismiss Mayank Agarwal and Virat Kohli. Next to go was Saurabh Tiwary, who mistimed his pull shot that went straight to keeper Nitin Saini's hand.
But Gayle played a patient knock and took his time to settle down before an onslaught. He took 28 balls to score 31 runs but once he took on, there was no stopping him. Gayle completely dominated the century-run stand between him and De Villiers. The duo always kept Bangalore along with the required run rate as the boundaries came regularly. With 24 need off last three balls Gayle smashed Awana for 17 runs in the eight-ball over before departing in the fourth ball but Bangalore were almost there.
Piyush Chawla gave Kings XI a glimmer of hope after he dismissed De Villiers in the penultimate over but Andrew McDonald (8 not out) and skipper Daniel Vettori (2 not out) took the team home safely without further damage.
Earlier, a late charge by veteran Azhar Mahmood and a solid knock by David Hussey lifted Kings XI Punjab to a competitive total of 163 for 6. Mahmood blasted 33 off just 14 balls, to give the Punjab attack something to bowl at against a powerful Bangalore batting line-up. Having won the toss and elected to bowl, Zaheer Khan struck early in the match when he scalped Punjab openers Nitin Saini and Paul Valthaty in successive overs to give Bangalore a good start with the new ball.
Zaheer first got rid of Nitin Saini off the inside edge for 14 and then picked up Paul Valthaty, who looked out of sorts throughout and finally picked up AB de Villiers caught at mid-off for 6. The duo's dismissal brought the most capable pair of Shaun Marsh and stand-in skipper David Hussey to the middle and the duo looked at their fluent best from the word go. The Aussie pair scored 30 off 19 balls and were looking to take the game away from the RCB, but Andrew McDonald provided the third blow when he dismissed a fluent Marsh, who scored 26, consisting of three fours and one six.
McDonald struck again taking the wicket of David Miller (8), who was providing good support to Hussey. The duo added 37 before Miller was caught at extra cover in the 14th over but Hussey at the other end was looking steady. But Hussey too fell in the next over after scoring brisk 41 dragging Harshal Patel's delivery on to his stumps. Once Hussey departed, Punjab were reeling at 101 for 5 after 15 overs.
Then Azhar Mahmood announced his arrival in the IPL 5 in style as his cameo of 33 off 14 balls helped Punjab to a competitive total. Mahmood shared a 44-run stand off 37 balls ball with Mandeep Singh to help Punjab out of trouble. While Mandeep was happy to turn over the strike during his innings of 20 off 15 balls, Mahmood smashed two sixes and three fours to give the Kings XI bowlers a good score to defend. For Bangalore, Zaheer and McDonald recorded fine figures of 2 for 25 in their four overs.