Chris Gayle lit up the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali on Thursday evening when he scored the first hundred of VIVO IPL 2018 and powered his team, Kings XI Punjab, to a big first innings total. Riding on the Jamaican’s knock, KXIP posted 193-3, after which the home team’s bowlers restricted the visiting Sunrisers Hyderabad to 178-4. Kings XI Punjab won by 15 runs – registering their third win of the season. The result SRH, suffered their first defeat of the season, and also lost a match in Mohali for the first time in five visits to the venue.
In the evening, the Kings XI Punjab captain Ravichandran Ashwin broke the trend of all the captains winning the toss and opting to field so far in the tournament. The hosts got off to a slow start, scoring just 13 runs off the first three overs. But Chris Gayle broke the shackles when he launched into Chris Jordan in the fourth over, and there was no stopping him thereafter; the Jamaican, 3 from 8 after the first three overs, would score 97 off the following 50 balls, to register his sixth hundred in the IPL. He would bat through the twenty overs and walk back to the dressing room unbeaten on 104, made from 63 balls.
Amidst the carnage, Bhuvneshwar Kumar finished with outstanding figures of 4-0-25-1, while the leg-spinner Rashid Khan had a forgettable night, finishing with 4-0-55-1 – his most expensive figures in his T20 cricket.
Sunrisers’ received a jolt at the start of their run-chase when Shikhar Dhawan was struck on his left elbow in the very first over and was forced to retire hurt. The visitors lost a couple of wickets early on and were always playing catch up. Despite attractive half-centuries by skipper Kane Williamson (54 from 41 balls) and Manish Pandey (57 not out, 42 balls), Sunrisers could only get to 178-4 in their twenty overs.
Ravichandran Ashwin – the bowler – had a forgettable night, conceding 53 runs in his four overs, while Barinder Sran and Mujeeb ur Rahman returned economical figures of 0-22 and 0-27 respectively. Mohit Sharma (2-51) and Andrew Tye (2-23) were KXIP’s wicket-takers.
Standout batting performances
It was the Chris Gayle show all along on Thursday night. The Jamaican began conservatively, but cut loose in the fourth over when he deposited Chris Jordan into the stands at midwicket. The following ball, he drove uppishly to the cover boundary.
He should have been dismissed the first ball of the following over; Rashid Khan, with his first ball of the night, found the bottom edge of Gayle’s bat, but Wriddhiman Saha grassed an extremely difficult chance. The next delivery, Gayle sent one soaring into the skies and into the stands. That would be the theme of the night. When Rashid came on to bowl the fourteenth over of the innings, Gayle got stuck into the teenager, hitting him for four consecutive sixes – each one of them clearing the boundary quite comfortably.
The standout feature of Gayle’s knock was that he scored the majority of his sixes down the ground – peppering the sightscreen or the region on either side of the black screen. The odd delivery that was banged in and stood up, Gayle latched on and sent it into the stands at midwicket. He got to his half-century of 39 balls, and needed only 19 deliveries thereafter to get to the three-figure mark – his 21st century overall in T20 cricket.
Summary of Gayle’s knock: 42 runs off 16 balls against Rashid Khan (including 6 sixes), 62 off 47 balls against the rest.
Notable Support Acts
The KXIP innings had several contributors. Mayank Agarwal (18 from 9) and Aaron Finch (14* from 6) entertained with cameos, while Karun Nair made an impressive 31. Batting at number four, Karun timed the ball beautifully; he hit three boundaries – each one of those up and over the fielder at mid-off - and a six in his 21-ball innings. Karun was involved in a 85-run partnership with Gayle, in which he played his role smartly by collecting singles and turning the strike over to the Jamaican. Karun was dismissed in the 18th over when he didn’t pick Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s knuckle ball and attempted to hit him out of the ground, but picked out the fielder at the midwicket boundary.
Kings XI Punjab 193-3 (Chris Gayle 104*, Karun Nair 31, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1-25) beat
Sunrisers Hyderabad 178-4 (Kane Williamson 54, Manish Pandey 57*, Andrew Tye 2-23) by 15 runs.
Man of the Match:
Chris Gayle, for his 104 not out.