Kings XI Punjab (193-3) did not need to look beyond Chris Gayle as his unbeaten 104-run knock helped them beat SunRisers Hyderabad (178-4) by 15 runs in their 1st defeat this season.
In the build up to the match, SurRisers Hyderabad were considered favourites all along, having won three out of three this season. KXIP were given only an outside chance as they too were fresh off a victory.
The operational master stroke of the match came when after winning the toss, KXIP skipper Ravi Ashwin broke the general trend as he decided to bat first.
KL Rahul, who has fired for Punjab in almost all matches, had a rare failure as he was removed by Rashid Khan (4-55-1) on 18. Thereafter, except Karun Nair’s 31, there were no significant contributions by other batsmen as Christopher Henry Gayle took it upon himself to take KXIP to a big total.
Gayle was back at his vintage best and continued from where he had left off against Chennai Super Kings a couple of nights ago. Taking the attack to the opposition bowlers, Gayle wreaked havoc at the Punjab Cricket Association’s IS Bindra Stadium, clobbering 11 sixes in his innings.
"People Thought I'm Old. Nothing To Prove Though. Just Want To Earn Some Respect. This One Is Dedicated To My Daughter Crisalina, It's Her Birthday Tomorrow. Tomorrow, She'll Turn Two And It's Her First Time In India" - Chris Gayle #UniverseBoss #KXIPvSRH #KXIPvsSRH #GayleStorm pic.twitter.com/tAPx5jUMfE— Sir Ravindra Jadeja (@SirJadeja) April 19, 2018
The Jamaican was later adjudged the Man of the match and he had some emotional things to say. "I'm always determined, wherever I go in the world and whichever franchise I represent. A lot of people said Chris has a point to prove. Virender Sehwag has saved the IPL by picking me. Sehwag said in an interview: If Chris wins you two games, we have our monies worth. I need to have a chat with him about that! (sic) I'm glad to be able to get 100 here today. I'm going to miss this wicket to be honest. Time waits for no one but I'm not here to prove anything to be anyone. I just want to move on, enjoy my cricket."
When SRH came out to bat, they had a target of 194 ahead of them. With their strike batsman Shikhar Dhawan (0, RT) being retired hurt in the very first over, this would always prove to a stiff ask for the side.
However, with Captain Kane Williamson (54, SR: 131.70) and gifted batsman Manish Pandey (57*, SR: 135.71) at the helm, SRH fans still had some hope. Although both these batsman clawed their way to half-centuries, the pace with which they scored actually went against their team in a chase that demanded some explosive striking.
As a result, despite having 6 wickets in the bank, SRH could only manage 178 as they fell short of the target by 15 runs.
© Cricket World 2018