IPL 9: RCB get a booster with Chris Gayle joining the party with Virat and AB

Bangalore: Marriages, they say, are made in heaven. Maybe they are, but partnerships we can tell are made on earth, more so in the Royal Challengers Bangalore camp.

Two century stands, two over 150 and one record-setting double century stand between Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, all in the current season, stand testimony to that.

Chris Gayle. Pic/PTI
Chris Gayle. Pic/PTI

And should the expected rains stay away, who knows what they have waiting for us this evening when they come up against tournament laggards Kings XI Punjab at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium here in another must win game for the hosts.

The thing with partnerships is that sometimes it can become a competition, one trying to outdo the other. Clearly in the case of Kohli and De Villiers, it is all about being complementary. For example when Piyush Chawla was troubling De Villiers, a mite at the Eden Gardens on Monday, Kohli stepped out and came up with a massive six. Likewise, if Kohli had struggled to get going in one particular over, De Villiers always made up, many times by taking that extra risk.

The Kolkata spin trio were good, but the Bangalore duo were better and only because they played as a pair. If one is classical and orthodox, the other is all
about improvisation and innovation.

Maxwell out of IPL
Two years ago, Punjab had a similar thing going, one that was called the M&M phenomenon. Today one, David Miller, is the deposed captain while the other, Glenn Maxwell, has just joined the long injury list of IPL 2016 and has in fact returned to Australia. But even in their prime they were only half as good as the RCB duo have been this season.

The irony — while the Punjab pair took them all the way to the final in 2014, here RCB, despite the 1349 runs that Kohli (752) and De Villiers (597) have notched up, are still just about hanging in. Perhaps, now that they have become a trio, Chris Gayle finally joining the party, things will improve.

Should a couple of bowlers, especially Chris Jordan, who showed signs of coming good in Kolkata, too get into the act, RCB could well make the play-offs and more. Also if Jordan and his ilk can pick up a lesson or two from young Kings XI pacer Sandeep Sharma, one of the most improved bowlers in the tournament, RCB will be well served.

Captains' wishlist
Virat Kohli Royal Challengers Bangalore
> He and AB are involved in yet another big p'ship
> Chris Gayle fires at the start
> Shane Watson provides an all-round show

Murali Vijay Kings XI Punjab
> David Miller scores big
> Pacers Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma provide early breakthroughs
> Axar Patel comes good with bat and ball

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