Sandeep Sharma Maxwell Kings XI Punjab
An early three-wicket burst from Sandeep Sharma helped Kings XI Punjab to a comfortable victory over RCB. Ron Gaunt/IPL/SPORTZPICS

The Royal Challengers Bangalore unleashed their monster, capable of sending any bowler scurrying in fear, for the first time in IPL 2014, but even the incomparable Chris Gayle could not inspire his side to a much-needed victory as the Kings XI Punjab kept their dream run going.

The RCB batsmen failed to impress yet again, collapsing like a house of cards, like they have done so often this season, to end up on a below par 124 for eight in 20 overs, and that too after Gayle gave them the best possible start, tonking Glenn Maxwell for 20 runs in the first over.

KXIP made heavy weather of the chase, with RCB bowlers refusing to surrender, but the best side in the IPL this season just had too much in the tank, eventually pulling off a five-wicket victory - their fifth straight this season, and eighth overall, an IPL record -- with seven balls to spare.

It was far from a comfortable run chase for Kings XI, with Cheteshwar Pujara failing to provide the stability required while facing such a small target.

Pujara (10, 18b, 1x4) played out five straight dot deliveries to begin the innings and that set the tone for his knock, with the right-hander unable to break free from his shackles, and eventually falling to Ashok Dinda in the fifth over, prodding one straight to wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel.

Virender Sehwag, who showed signs of his old self in the previous match, was quite enjoying himself in the middle, warming to the occasion with a couple of delectable boundaries off Dinda to the onside. Wriddhiman Saha, though, could not stick around with his partner, with the wicketkeeper dismissed courtesy a wonderful catch from Mitchell Starc on the fine-leg boundary.

Starc would pull off an even better catch a couple of overs later to dismiss the big man Maxwell (6, 6b, 0x4, 0x6), with the fast bowler diving forward to hold on brilliantly - Varun Aaron picking up the prized wicket.

Sehwag and David Miller calmed the Kings XI nerves with a vital 45-run alliance from just 31 deliveries, bringing the target down to a 41 from the final eight overs. Miller (26, 20b, 4x4), though, could not carry his bat through, with the left-hander finding a tickle through to Patel off the impressive Yuzvendra Chahal.

Chahal (4-0-23-2) would then make the game a tad more interesting by picking up Sehwag (32, 26b, 4x4), who looked surprised after being given out caught behind with Patel and the bowler going up in unison like it was the most obvious edge anyone has ever seen.

The required rate was well below six, however, and it was the perfect situation and opportunity for George Bailey (16 n.o., 16b, 1x4) to take his side home, which the Kings XI skipper duly did in the company of Rishi Dhawan (23 n.o., 22b, 3x4).

Chris Gayle RCB
RCB opener Chris Gayle hits a six in the IPL 2014 match against KXIP, 28 April. Ron Gaunt/IPL/SPORTZPICS

Earlier, Gayle finally was involved in IPL 2014, after a back injury kept him out of the first four games, and the big West Indian made a glorious start, spanking Maxwell for 20 runs in the first over.

The rust did show, though, with the first couple of boundaries coming of outer edges, before the trademark big blows, first over long-off, and then over long-on, came to the fore.

Gayle (20, 7b, 2x4, 2x6) looked to continue his assault in the next over as well, but castled himself after coming down the crease and only wafting at air with the delivery from Sandeep Sharma shaping away wonderfully well to crash into off-stump.

Virat Kohli came in and crashed a boundary first ball through the offside, but the RCB skipper got rapped on the pads the very next delivery off an in-dipper from Sharma, with umpire Billy Bowden raising his finger much to Kohli's chagrin - replays suggested the ball might have missed the leg-stump.

RCB found themselves behind the eight ball from the beginning yet again, and it only got worse as Mitchell Johnson (two for 19) got in amongst the wickets, ending Yogesh Takawale's miserable seven-ball stay.

Parthiv Patel (2, 7b), with the situation demanding some smart cricket, did the opposite going for a drive off a delivery well outside off from Sharma (3-1-15-3), with the left-hander only managing to find an outside edge to wicketkeeper Saha.

That wicket put RCB on a precarious 26 for four in just the fourth over, with a score similar to 70 yet again looking possible and making the task of posting a big score to test the Kings XI batsmen a near impossible one, even with AB De Villiers and Yuvraj Singh at the crease.

The two experienced batsmen pushed the Royal Challengers from the precipice with a 41-run partnership from 5.3 overs, before Kings XI struck a big blow again.

The one batsman RCB would have been banking on in this situation would have been De Villiers (17, 15b, 2x4), but the South African's underwhelming run in IPL 2014 continued, slapping a shot straight to Maxwell at point of Rishi Dhawan (4-0-14-2).

Albie Morkel (15, 14b, 1x6) and Yuvraj tried to do the repair job yet again with RCB on 67 for five, and the two managed to get the score near 100 with a 26-run alliance, with the latter getting bowled by Lakshmipathy Balaji while attempting a big shot.

Yuvraj (35, 32b, 3x4, 1x6) followed soon after, holing out in the deep after failing to find enough oomph in his pull shot, leaving the tail-enders to negotiate the final five and a bit overs, which they did without creating too many problems for the bowlers, with the Kings XI batsmen then doing their jobs well enough.