BENGALURU, India, CMC-IANS – Estranged West Indies opener Chris Gayle whipped up the tempest, blowing away English county Somerset with a hurricane innings, and leading Royal Challengers Bangalore to a 51-run victory in the Champions League Twenty20 yesterday.
Setting an imposing target of 207 runs in a must-win game, RCB mauled a defiant Somerset to 155 for six wickets after the big-hitting Gayle returned to form and blasted 86 in 46 balls with eight massive sixes and four fours at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in this tech hub.
Barring openers Peter Trego, who played a cameo innings of 58 in 38 balls with three sixes and six four, and Craig Kiewwetter, the other Somerset batsmen could not resist the spirited attack of the marauding Royals and surrendered tamely after being on course in the first 10 overs.
Though Trego played through the innings until the 16th over, he did not get the support to chase the target or build partnerships after Kieswetter departed in the fifth over for 26 from 19 balls with two sixes and three fours.
Earlier, a desperate RCB, looking for a victory to keep their semi-final hopes alive, were put in to bat.
The home team made a determined start with Gayle treating the crowd to a pyrotechnic show all the way to steer the innings in steady partnerships first with Tillakaratne Dilshan and later with Virat Kohli, Saurab Tiwary and Mayank Agarwal.
As in the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League earlier this year, Gayle rescued RCB from a tricky situation by staying through the innings until the 18th over taking the Somerset attack to the cleaners.
Ironically, Trego bore the brunt of the Royals’ challenge giving away 50 runs in three overs for no wicket.
After losing their first two games against Warriors in the tournament’s opening match on September 23 and Kolkata Knight Riders on September 29, RCB is still at the bottom of Group B despite grabbing two points from this victory.
The home team can still grab a semi-final berth if they beat the South Australia Redbacks tomorrow with a better net run-rate than KKR, which has four points from four games.
The outcome of the Somerset-Warriors match on Friday will determine who will be the other team in Group-B to walk into the other semis.