Gayle dazzles in Kings XI victory

Chris Gayle

Chris Gayle showed that he was not yet a spent force as he smashed his second fastest fifty in the IPL to help Kings XI Punjab defeat Chennai Super Kings by four runs in a thrilling game here on Sunday night.

The 38-year-old Jamaican, who twice went unsold at the auction and was later picked up by the Punjab franchise for a base price of Rs 2 crore, played a trademark innings toying with the opposition attack. Playing his first game of the season, he hammered 63 off 33 balls and raced to his half-century off 22 balls. His fastest fifty had come off 17 balls, against Pune in 2013. His knock was studded with four sixes and seven boundaries.

Riding on Gayle’s knock, Kings XI posted 197 for seven. CSK, with captain MS Dhoni leading the way, made a strong chase. Dhoni hammered an unbeaten 79 off just 44 balls but even he couldn’t take CSK past the line. Ambati Rayudu was the other CSK batsmen to offer some challenge, hitting 49 but the target proved too stiff in the end. CSK ended at 193 for five.

Earlier, Gayle weaved a 96-run opening partnership alongside the in-form K L Rahul (37 off 22), setting up the platform for a big score. Mayank Agarwal (30 off 19) and Karun Nair (29 off 17) too chipped in with useful contributions. For CSK, Shardul Thakur and Imran Tahir picked up two scalps each while Harbhajan Singh, Shane Watson and Dwayne Bravo got a wicket each. Harbhajan Singh gave Chennai the first breakthrough when Rahul was caught by Dwayne Bravo, but by then KXIP were comfortably placed and reached 100 in just 8.4 overs. Two overs later Gayle too departed, handing over a simple catch to Imran Tahir at short fine leg off Shane Watson’s bowling. Tahir then dealt a double blow but KXIP eventually reached a strong total.

Scoreboard

KINGS XI PUNJAB: Rahul c Bravo b Harbhajan 37; Gayle c Tahir b Watson 63; Agarwal c Ravindra Jadeja b Tahir 30; Yuvraj c Dhoni b Thakur 20; Finch lbw Tahir 0; Karun c Ravindra Jadeja b Bravo 29; Ashwin c Dhoni b Thakur 14; Tye (not out) 3; Sran (not out) 0; Extras: (W-1) 1. Total (for seven wickets, in 20 overs) 197.

Fall of wickets: 1-96, 2-127, 3-149, 4-149, 5-157, 6-190, 7-195.

Bowling: Chahar 3-0-37-0, Harbhajan 4-0-41-1, Thakur 3-0-33-2, Tahir 4-0-34-2, Watson 2-0-15-1, Bravo 4-0-37-1.

CHENNAI SUPER KINGS:  Watson c Barinder b Mohit 11; Vijay c Barinder b Tye 12; Rayudu (run out) 49; Billings lbw Ashwin 9; Dhoni (not out) 79; Jadeja c Ashwin b Tye 19; Bravo (not out) 1; Extras (LB-2, W-11) 13. Total (for five wickets, in 20 overs) 193.

Fall of wickets: 1-17, 2-39, 3-56, 4-113, 5-163.

Bowling: Sran 4-0-37-0; Mohit 4-0-47-1; Tye 4-0-47-2; Mujeeb Ur Rahman 3-0-18-0; Ashwin 4-0-32-1;Yuvraj 1-0-10-0.

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