Chris Gayle had a point to prove as took guard against Chennai Super Kings at Mohali on Sunday.
Now a part of Kings XI Pujab, Gayle had suffered the ignominy of going unsold initially in the IPL auction after not being retained by the Royal Challengers Bangalore where he had been a fan favourite for several years.
After missing out on the playing XI in the opening two matches, the Jamaican was unleashed against the MS Dhoni led Super Kings as he made his debut for the Mohali-based franchise.
Starting cautiously but in control, Gayle took his time to get going. It was in the fourth over of Punjab’s innings that the left-hander burst into life as he tore into Harbhajan Singh’s off-spin.
Smashing a six and a boundary off Harbhajan’s first two deliveries, the West Indies man found his rhythm as the warning bells began ringing for the visitors.
Chris Gayle – 50 in 22 balls today – his second fastest in IPL.
His only faster 50 was off 17 balls v PWI when he scored 175. #KXIPvCSK
— Bharath Seervi (@SeerviBharath) April 15, 2018
From that point on, there was no looking back as Gayle made full use of his brute force and impeccable timing to cash in on the power-play overs.
The 38-year-old brought up his fifty in just 22 balls in the seventh over of the innings. By the time he hoisted South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir for a massive six in the final delivery of the seventh over, Kings XI Punjab had scored 92 runs.
In the end, Gayle fell for 63 (33) after miscuing a pull off Shane Watson but his 96-run opening stand with KL Rahul had done enough damage to Chennai.
It was a fitting franchise debut for Gayle and it will have a few Royal Challengers Bangalore fans scratching their heads wondering why the ‘entertainer’ wasn’t retained. For now, Bengaluru’s loss is Mohali’s gain.
Batting first, the Rajasthan Royals amassed 217-4, thanks to a breathtaking knock from Sanju Samson who hit 92 off 45 deliveries with two boundaries and 10 sixes. The Royal Challengers put up a fight but finished on 198-6 as they fell to a second defeat in three matches.
Here, we look at the key talking points from a high-scoring clash.
SAMSON GOES BERSERK
The Royal Challengers had started well with the ball as D’Arcy Short fell cheaply for the third consecutive innings . What followed was utter mayhem as Samson walked out to the crease. The 23-year-old only dealt in sixes as he tore apart the RCB bowling unit with clean hits across the park.
He raced away to fifty without hitting a single boundary and it was not until the 19th over that Samson registered his first four of the innings. By that time, he had already carted eight sixes around the Chinnaswamy Stadium, a new IPL record. The right-handed batsmen smashed five sixes and two boundaries off his last eight deliveries as he finished unbeaten on 92.
6s – 1⃣0⃣
4s – 2⃣
— Star Sports (@StarSportsIndia) April 15, 2018
KOHLI FIGHTS FIRE WITH FIRE
After Samson’s whirlwind innings, RCB skipper Virat Kohli was not going to be left behind. With Brendon McCullum falling in the first over of the chase, Kohli took it upon himself to drive the hosts’ reply.
Kohli found the gaps with a mix of orthodox cricketing shots and a few wild slogs. Keeping Bangalore close to the asking-rate, Kohli raced away to fifty off just 26 deliveries. This was the fastest of Kohli’s 33 half-centuries in the IPL.
The skipper was looking in imperious touch and was threatening to take the game away from the Royals single-handedly before being caught on the boundary ropes off Shreyas Gopal for 57 (30).
Virat Kohli becomes only second player to cross 4500 runs in IPL…
— Broken Cricket (@BrokenCricket) April 15, 2018
AB DE VILLIERS FAILS TO MAKE MOST OF REPRIEVE
With 217 to defend, Rajasthan Royals knew the wickets of Kohli and AB de Villiers should settle the affair. While Kohli got off to a flier, De Villiers looked scratchy at the start.
The South African was batting on two runs when he charged at Royals’ spinner Shreyas Gopal in the ninth over. Gopal bowled a googly, deceiving the batsman in the air and beating his inside edge. However, Jos Buttler failed to collect the ball with De Villiers stranded some way down the pitch.
Luckily for the Royals, the Proteas batsman did not do too much damage as he was dismissed by the very same bowler. A half-tracker down the leg side proved to be De Villiers’ downfall as he smashed the ball straight into the hands of Jaydev Unadkat at deep square-leg.
That didn’t matter to Gopal, who is a local boy, as he took a celebratory lap around the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
SUNDAR AND MANDEEP FIGHT BACK
With the fall of De Villiers’ wicket, the Royals were within touching distance of victory. However, a half-century stand for the sixth wicket between Washington Sundar and Mandeep Singh gave Bangalore a glimmer of hope.
Sundar especially looked extremely good. The two found boundaries towards the end as panic started to set in in the Royals camp.
The duo bought the equation down to 38 off 10 balls before Sundar was bowled off a full-toss by Ben Stokes. Nevertheless, those late runs will come in handy for the Royal Challengers if net run rate comes into play towards the end of the league phase.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) April 15, 2018
The left-handed batsman was advised rest after picking up a calf injury and missed Sunday’s match against Kings XI Punjab while also being ruled out of Friday’s game against Rajasthan Royals.
Raina posted an image of his recovery process in Instagram. In it, the 31-year-old was pictured using Recovery Pump to get his injured muscles back to peak condition as soon as possible.
The apparatus is used by athletes the world over to aid recovery process, especially after injuries. The device inflates sequentially from the toes toward the torso, mimicking natural movement in legs during exercise.