Vinay Kumar and RP Singh starred with the ball for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, as the home side completed a comfortable seven-wicket victory over the Rajasthan Royals in their IPL 2013 match at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Needing just 118 for a win, after the bowlers had bowled out the Royals for 117, Chris Gayle (49 n.o.) played a sedate innings by his own high standards to take his side to their fifth win in seven matches and back to the top of the table.
RCB got off to a flier, with Tillakaratne Dilshan and Gayle getting into the groove nicely, as the home side looked on course for a comfortable win, reaching the 50-run mark in the seventh over.
However, Rahul Dravid's decision to bring on Shane Watson, who has not bowled in IPL 2013, paid off as the Australian picked the wicket of Dilshan, who was looking extremely comfortable at the crease.
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Dilshan (25, 22b, 5x4), looking to guide the ball to third man, only managed a thin edge with wicketkeeper Dishant Yagnik taking a nice low catch.
Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers, part of RCB's top-heavy big-four, were also walking back to the pavilion soon after. Kohli (1) played on to a nice slower delivery from James Faulkner, before De Villiers (7)threw his wicket away, caught at mid-on by Ajit Chandila off the bowling of Watson (two for 11).
Chris Gayle, knowing all the top RCB batsmen were back in the hut, dropped anchor - not something you thought you would ever use with Gayle in the IPL - milking the bowlers for singles, with the forgotten man Saurabh Tiwary (25, 29b, 2x4, 1x6) acting as the perfect foil.
Gayle only had four fours and a six - hit off the last ball -- in his 49 (44b), but it was the perfect innings from the big West Indian, taking his team to a comfortable win with 13 balls to spare.
Earlier, Rajasthan Royals will be kicking themselves and wondering how they went from a position of relative strength to total capitulation.
There was to be no fireworks from Watson and Ajinkya Rahane at the top as the openers fell early.
Ravi Rampaul picked up the first wicket for RCB, that of Watson. The Australian looked to play a shot over the top of mid-off, but could not find the elevation, allowing Murali Karthik to take a nice catch.
Royals were 26 for two when Rahane (14, 13b, 2x4, 1x6) was caught out by a nice slower ball from Jaydev Unadkat, only managing to drive the ball straight to Dilshan at point.
Rahul Dravid and Stuart Binny started about building the innings in a nice manner, playing some common sense shots, coupled with some real aggression, particularly from the blade of Binny.
The duo put together 40 runs for the third wicket in just 4.3 overs, before Binny was walking back to the pavilion.
Binny (33, 20b, 4x4, 1x6) top-edged a pull shot off Vinay Kumar, with wicketkeeper Arun Karthik running back to complete the catch.
However, after the fall of Binny, Brad Hodge came in and gave good company to Dravid as the experienced batsmen looked to take their side to a solid total.
Their 31-run partnership, though, was broken by Murali Kartik. Dravid, looking to accelerate the scoring, tried to clear long-on, but could only find Rampaul, with the Royals skipper walking back for a 31-ball 35 (5x4).
The Dravid wicket triggered a collapse as the Royals went from 97 for four in 14.4 overs, to 117 all out in 19.4 overs.
Vinay Kumar (three for 18) and RP Singh (three for 13) were brilliant, doing all the damage, with the former also taking control of the Purple Cap, as RCB ran through the Royals batting order to take full control of the match.
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