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Mahela dampens KKR hopes

That was the story on Sunday during the first half of the Kolkata Knight Riders-Kings XI Punjab match. Chris Gayle rained sixes and plundered 65 runs in the last 20 balls he faced on way to a 42-ball 88.

cricket Updated: Apr 05, 2010 00:00 IST

The common perception about T20 is it's all about power. The bat must hit the ball hard. The paintbrush has no place, it's about machine guns.

That was the story on Sunday during the first half of the Kolkata Knight Riders-Kings XI Punjab match. Chris Gayle rained sixes and plundered 65 runs in the last 20 balls he faced on way to a 42-ball 88. With the scarf hanging out from the back of his helmet, he indeed looked like a Black Cat commando using the bat as a bazooka.

Due to Gayle's onslaught and the partnerships he shared with Sourav Ganguly and Manoj Tiwary, the Knight Riders galloped to 200, rattling up 131 runs in the last 10 overs. It looked enough against a troubled side, smarting under some fresh hammering.

Few gave the Kings XI a chance when Mahela Jayawardene came out to open the innings. The second half was witness to the delicate sound of thunder. The ball was racing away to the fence and sailing over it off some sublime shots. Timing and placement was the hallmark of the effort rather than power and improvisation. Like Gayle's onslaught, Jayawardene's century also caused mass destruction. But unlike the West Indian, the Sri Lankan's knock was beautiful, not scary.

Kings XI were always ahead of the asking rate, they made 204 in 18.2 overs and Jayawardene's hundred came off 56 balls. Kumar Sangakkara and Yuvraj Singh played cameos, but towering above their deeds was a work of art. It was rare in the days of slam-bang cricket.

It might do little to revive the faltering campaign of the Kings XI, but it definitely queered the pitch for the Knight Riders, who were hoping to trample over an opposition that looked down and out 20 overs into the match.

When the world is going gaga over pyrotechnics, they had to bow to a man who practices Buddhism and believes in peaceful execution of plans.