Chris Gayle’s blistering hundred helped Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) overpower Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) by 15 runs in the Indian Premier League match at Mohali on Thursday.
Gayle’s unbeaten 63-ball-104 – his 21st hundred in shortest format – propelled KXIP to 193 for 3 in 20 overs and they then restricted Sunrisers to 178 for 4, recording their third win in the tournament. For Sunrisers, it was their first defeat after three successive wins.
“A lot of people thought I’m too old. After this innings, I have nothing to prove,” Gayle said immediately after his knock.
While chasing, Sunrisers were dealt with a blow at the start when Shikhar Dhawan retired hurt after being hit on the elbow off the very first delivery that he faced from Barinder Sran.
Wriddhiman Saha (6) tried a cross-batted heave only to be clean bowled in the process by Mohit Sharma. Yusuf Pathan (19) got two reprieves with Ashwin and Yuvraj Singh dropping sitters off Mohit and Sran’s bowling. Mohit however had the last laugh as he dragged one back to his stumps.
Pacer Andrew Tye (2/23 in 4 overs) and rookie mystery spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman (0/26 in 4 overs) then stifled Sunrisers in the middle overs despite Kane Williamson’s 54 off 41 balls and Manish Pandey’s unbeaten 57 off 42 balls.
In between themselves, Tye and Mujeeb bowled 15 dot balls, which proved to be crucial in the end. Even Sran (0/22 in 4 overs) was economical in opening the bowling.
Gayle turns the heat on
Earlier, Gayle scythed through Sunrisers Hyderabad bowling attack.
Arguably one of the greatest T20 batters, Gayle showed that he is far from finished en route his magnificent knock that comprised 11 towering sixes and a four.
Gayle’s 58-ball-hundred, incidentally, is the first of this edition of IPL and also against a bowling line-up that is being touted as the most balanced of all eight teams.
“This hundred is dedicated to my daughter. Tomorrow is her birthday,” he said.
The first 50 came off 39 balls and he took a mere 19 balls to complete the second 50.
Every six was typical Gayle. Minimum footwork and maximum power behind the shots.
It was the 14th over of the innings when Gayle actually turned the heat on. Already batting on 51, he smote leg-spinner Rashid Khan for four consecutive sixes. The first was over long-off, followed by a couple down the ground hits landing into sightscreen. The fourth six was slogged in the deep mid-wicket region.
“This is a good wicket to bat on, just have to go out and defend it. I am very dedicated. Since joining Kings XI, [Virender] Sehwag told me to stick with the yoga guy and a massage guy, that’s the secret, I guess (laughs). In a week’s time, I will be able to touch my toes,” Gayle said in jest.