IPL 2018: Chris Gayle, KL Rahul shine up front for Kings XI Punjab in Kolkata Knight Riders rout
Chris Gayle and KL Rahul both scored half-centuries as Kings XI Punjab cruised to a 9-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders in an IPL 2018 game in Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Saturday.cricket Updated: Apr 21, 2018 21:03 IST
Chris Gayle got his third successive fifty of IPL 2018 vs Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), getting to the milestone in 28 balls with five fours and five sixes. (HIGHLIGHTS)
It helped Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) coast to their third successive win and get to the top of the IPL standings. Gayle had made 63 against Chennai Super Kings and 104 against Sunrisers Hyderabad. (FULL SCORECARD)
Gayle’s first boundary came off Andre Russell and was all about timing bisecting cover and point. Shivam Mavi squared him up thrice but his second over yielded 17 --- after the first and second of the innings had fetched nine and 13 respectively --- because Gayle managed to swing one over extra-cover and Rahul superbly pulled for a six. Narine put the brakes on, temporarily as it turned out, in the fifth over, but KXIP finished the power play on 73/0.
On Friday, KKR bowling coach Heath Streak had spoken of hitting sixes on the off-side being difficult. Well, it wasn’t for Gayle who smoked Russell over cover and then backward point for over-boundaries.
By the time Russell’s right hamstring played up, Gayle and Rahul had made KKR’s powerful bowling attack look pedestrian.
And it wasn’t slam-bang all the way. Gayle defended four balls from Narine but when he drifted down the leg-side, he swept for four. He went into the rain break with a six off Piyush Chawla and when play resumed around 90 minutes later, Gayle began with another six.
KL Rahul too got to his second half-century of IPL 2018 and though it wasn’t as brisk as the first, it helped Kings XI Punjab to the top of the table.
Rahul fell on 60, his effort coming in 27 balls with nine fours and two sixes. Like Chris Gayle, who resumed after the rain break with a six, Rahul too followed to bring up his half-century.
Rahul started with two boundaries off Shivam Mavi, the first streaky the second sublime. He did that again off the first two balls off Andre Russell’s over, negating the swing to hit through cover before putting one past third man.
Gayle hadn’t even joined the party and it was already in full swing. The shot of his innings was a pull off Shivam Mavi getting on top of the bounce and being in complete control of the shot.
Together with Chris Gayle, Rahul added 116 for the opening stand and took KXIP on the threshold of victory which, due to the rain break of nearly 90 minutes, was revised to 125 in 13 overs.
Rahul was removed by Sunil Narine just before the winning runs were hit but by that time the damage was done.