Date : 20 April :-
Gayle’s unbeaten 104 off just 63 balls comprising of 11 massive sixes enabled Kings XI Punjab to post 193 for 3 against Sunrisers, whose bowlers had not conceded in excess of 150 to any side in its previous three encounters.
In reply, the Sunrisers could only manage 178 for 4. The sad part was they never even looked like getting to the target despite half-centuries from captain Kane Williamson (55) and Manish Pandey (57).
Their chase was derailed in the very first over when in-from opener Shikhar Dhawan had to walk off the field after being hit in the elbow by left-arm fast bowler Barinder Sran.
Earlier, After becoming the first side to opt batting in this IPL, Kings XI got off to a steady start through openers Rahul and Gayle. Rahul was not in his usual best, struggling to time the ball during the first few overs.
Just then, Gayle decided to take it upon himself as he went on a rampage against the best leg spinner of IPL, Rashid Khan, hitting him for two sixes in his first over.
That was just a trailer, the big Jamaican hit Rashid for four consecutive sixes in his third over, taking 27 runs off him to send the alarm bells ringing. 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.
Gayle moved to 99 with his 11th six hit off Bhuvneshwar Kumar over long-off. In Siddarth Kaul’s next over, he dabbed the ball towards point to complete a quick single. As a mark of celebration, Gayle gestured rocking a baby in a cradle, with his wife and daughter in the VIP box.
The first 50 came off 39 balls and he took a mere 19 balls to complete the second 50.
“A lot of people thought I’m too old. After this innings, I have nothing to prove. This hundred is dedicated to my daughter. Tomorrow is her birthday,” Gayle said immediately after his knock.
A cornered tiger can be dangerous and Gayle showed why he has taken the initial lack of interest of franchises to his heart.
Each and every six was signature Gayle. Minimum footwork and maximum power behind the shots.
“This is a good wicket to bat on, just have to go out and defend it. I am very dedicated. Since joining Kings XI, 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.
Gayle now has 16 sixes in just 2 matches and that takes him to second in the maximum sixes list, only behind Russell, who has 19 sixes in the tournament.