IPL - Gayle guides RCB to fifth win

Bangalore, April 21 (IANS) Chris Gayle (49 not out, 44b, 4x4, 1x6) guided Royal Challengers Bangalore through a mini-collapse as the hosts defeated Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets for their fifth win in seven outings and move to the top of the Pepsi IPL league table, here Saturday.

Asked to bat first, the Rajasthan Royals struggled against some tight bowling and were shot out for 117 in the last over, but fought back to reduced RCB to 64 for three but Gayle and Saurabh Tiwary (25 not out) added 59 runs for the unfinished fourth wicket as the home team made.

While RCB, who thus protected their unbeaten run at home this season, took their tally to 10 points, the same as Sunrisers Hyderabad who however were placed second on inferior run-rate while Royals remained on eight points, but slipped to fourth spot behind Chennai Super Kings on NRR count.

It was not a typical Gayle innings as he displayed a lot of patience and caution after the exit of fellow-opener Tillakaratne Dilshan (25), skipper Virat Kohli (1) and AB de Villiers in consecutive overs that saw RCB slip from 53 for no loss to 64 for three with Shane Watson claiming two of the wickets.

However, Gayle then took charge and along with Tiwary, playing his first IPL game this season, took RCB home with the only six of his innings.

Earlier, there was little to Rajasthan Royals innings as RCB bowlers showed a lot of discipline to take wickets at regular intervals with seamers Vinay Kumar and Rudra Pratap Singh taking three wickets apiece and West Indian Ravi Rampaul two.

Seven wickets for just 20 runs in five overs summed up Rajasthan Royals' rather pathetic batting display after a fairly steady if unspectacular start.

Barring Rahul Dravid who struggled to 35 off 31 balls and Stuart Binny (33, 20b, 4x4, 1x6), the rest of the batsmen barely measured up to the challenge on a pitch that held no terrors.

The early dismissal of Shane Watson (6), caught brilliantly by Murali Karthik at mid-off off Rampaul was a setback the Royals did not fully recover from. The other opener Ajinkya Rahane (13) promised a bit, but was foxed by change of pace by young Unadkat.

Binny and Dravid put on 40 runs at a brisk pace, but just when the partnership seemed to gather momentum, RCB achieved a big breakthrough with the latter top-edging a hook for wicket-keeper Arun Karthik take a good catch to present Vinay Kumar the first of his three wickets.

Dravid led a brief recovery, adding 30 runs for the fourth wicket with Brad Hodge before holing out to Rampaul off left-arm spinner Murali Karthik to trigger a massive collapse as the Royals lost wickets swiftly thereafter to be dismissed for 117 in the final over.

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