IPL 2020: Chris Gayle Smashes 53 As KXIP Beat RCB by 8 Wickets
Chris Gayle finally made his debut and took Punjab to victory with a knock of 53 off 45 balls with 5 sixes.
News from the centre is, Kings XI Punjab finally have a win. Incidentally, the win comes by eight wickets against Royal Challengers Bangalore, the same team they had beaten to register their only other win in IPL 2020.
Having won the toss at Sharjah, RCB captain Virat Kohli elected to bat first and put up 171 on the board. In reply, KXIP raced to 56 for no loss in their powerplay and reached their target off the last ball with a giant six.
Despite’s Punjab’s heroics on the field, Thursday’s match at Sharjah is likely to be remembered for Chris Gayle’s debut in this edition at the IPL. With Punjab languishing at the bottom of the table with one win in seven matches, the 41-year-old finally got a game and smashed 53 with five massive sixes.
Punjab’s opening pair of KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal gave the team just the start they needed. While Agarwal made a quickfire 45 off 23 balls, Rahul scored an unbeaten 61 off 47 to steer his side home.
Virat Kohli & Co, however, will be wondering if they took their foot off the pedal right after the powerplay once Pujab’s spinners came on. Importantly, they’ll be pondering if the decision to play AB de Villiers at number 6 was the right ond.
CHRIS GAYLE FINALLY IN ACTION
The player with most sixes in IPL history has finally made his debut on a ground that has seen the most sixes this IPL.
Chris Gayle, whose exclusion from KXIP’s struggling campaign has been the topic of many a debate, finally walked in to bat after 8 overs with his team at 78/1. In his charactersitic languid style, Gayle took his time to settle down and get used to the surface while KL Rahul ensured the run rate kept ticking.
Gayle, however, did not quite send Bangalore’s fielders on a wild leather chase initially with his big hits but did play his shots with confidence and appeared to strike the ball well. He, however, set the stadium on fire by the end with a matchwinning knock of 53.
PUNJAB OPENERS SHINE AGAIN
Openers KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal gave Punjab a perfect 78 run opening partnership in 48 runs as they went about chasing 171 on a wicket that did offer assistance to spinners.
While Mayank Agarwal scored 45 at a strike rate of 180 that included three sixes, captain KL Rahul dug in his heels and carried his bat through the innings. He scored an impressive 61 which included five sixes.
Punjab has consistently suffered from a top heavy batting line-up with not enough support from the middle order. However, on Thursday they had the “Universe Boss” Chris Gayle at number 3.
RCB FAIL THE SPIN TEST
In an uncommon move at Sharjah, it wasn’t a pacer like Mohammad Shami but off-spinner Glenn Maxwell who opened the bowling for KXIP. Spinners Ravi Bishnoi and Murugan Ashwin joined sixth over onwards as Punjab’s spin-trio bowled uninterrupted for eight overs from the sixth to thirteenth over.
This proved to be a game-changing move by captain KL Rahul as Virat Kohli looked cautious against leg spinners Bishnoi and Ashwin. While RCB scored 57/1 in their first six overs, they managed only 70 runs in their next ten overs at a run rate of 7 per over thanks to some tight spin bowling.
M. Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers for KXIP with figures of 23/2 in his four overs. Maxwell proved handy as well, giving away only 28 runs. It was the pressure built by the spinners that led to a late collapse in the RCB team.
The spin trio of Maxwell-Bishnoi-Ashwin gave away just 80 runs in their combined 12 overs and picked up 3 wickets. The decision to bring Ab De Villiers lower down the order to avoid the spinners backfired eventually.
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