New Delhi, May 18 (IANS) Chris Gayle destroyed Delhi Daredevils with an unbeaten century as Royal Challengers raised their hopes of making it to the play-off stages with a convincing 21-run win in their crucial Indian Premier league (IPL) match at the Ferozeshah Kotla here Thursday.
Daredevils were blown away by Gayle’s carnage as the Jamaican struck a brilliant unbeaten 62-ball 128, his first century of the season.
Gayle and skipper Virat Kohli (73 not out) added 204-run stand for the second wicket, the highest for any wicket this season, which took Royal Challengers to a massive 215 for one in 20 overs.
Daredevils, who had already qualified for the play-off, gave a tough fight but were restricted to 194 for nine in 20 overs after Ross Taylor struck 26-ball 55, for his first half-century of the season.
While chasing, Daredevils failed to stitch a decent partnership and lost wickets at regular intervals. Besides Taylor, Venugopal Rao (36) and Andre Russell (31) came up with valuable knocks but not enough to chase down a huge total.
Pacers Zaheer Khan (3-38) and Prashant Parameshwaran (3-30) did most of the damage to give Royal Challengers the much-needed win that lifted them to the fifth spot with 17 points from 15 matches.
Daredevils were down to 69 for three in the ninth over and it was the 38-run stand for the fourth wicket between Rao and Taylor that repaired the innings. Taylor was also involved in a 43-run stand with Naman Ojha (13) but once the Kiwi go out Daredevils lost out of steam.
Royal Challengers are tied on points with Super Kings, whose chances of defending their title are highly unlikely after they lost their last match earlier in the day to Kings XI Punjab. Royal Challengers still have a chance and have to win their last match against bottom-placed Deccan Chargers.
Having already booked their play-off berth, Daredevils rested skipper Virender Sehwag and Morne Morkel while giving a chance to Unmukt Chand and Andre Russell.
Daredevils stand-in skipper Mahela Jayawardene, who opted to field first, must be ruing his decision as they were swept away by a stormy innings from Gayle, who bludgeoned the Daredevils bowlers with the second highest knock in the IPL.
Gayle also became the only player in the history of IPL toscore more than 700 runs in a season. With 706 runs, Gayle became the owner of the purple cap in the IPL.
The Jamaican also equalled the most number of sixes (0) hit in an innings. Brendan McCullum had also hit 13 sixes in his 158 not out for Kolkata Knight Riders in the inaugural match of the 2008 IPL against Royal Challengers.
Pacer Varun Aaron was the best of the Daredevils bowlers giving away 38 runs for one wicket from his four overs.
After Royal Challengers lost openers Tillekaratane Dilshan (10) early in the third over, Gayle took some time to settle down. He took 17 balls for his first 10 runs and as he found his rhythm the next 90 runs came off just 35 balls, with the help of 13 sixes.
Kohli was happy playing the second fiddle and allowed Gayle to take the most of the strike during their record stand. Kohli also freed his arms hitting 10 boundaries and a six in his 53-ball innings. Gayle and Kohli smashed 78 runs in the last five overs as they gave Royal Challengers a huge total to defend.