Chris Gayle rolled back the years with a six-hitting unbeaten 104 as Kings XI Punjab handed Shakib Al Hasan's Sunrisers Hyderabad their first defeat after three wins in Indian Premier League (IPL) at Mohali yesterday.
The 38-year-old Jamaican left-hander, considered as the biggest entertainer in the shortest format of the game, virtually showered sixes in his 63-ball undefeated knock where he smashed 11 hits out of the park against a single boundary.
Punjab captain Ravichandran Ashwin might have pulled a surprise when he opted to bat first against the trend of this edition's IPL, which is to chase after winning the toss. But there was no surprise from Gayle, who entertained the Mohali crowd for a second successive game after his 63 against Chennai Super Kings.
Afghanistan's young leg spinner might be the toughest bowler to be hit. But even Rashid bore the brunt of Gayle fury as the self proclaimed universal boss smashed four consecutive sixes against the leggie. Rashid went for 55 runs in his fours overs.
Riding on Gayle wave, Punjab posted a commanding 193 for three in their share of 20 overs. Shakib bowled two overs and conceded 28 runs without any success.
The champion Bangladesh all-rounder hit two sixes against Ashwin in the final over but it was not enough for Hyderabad to avoid a 15-run defeat. Shakib scored a 12-ball 24 not out coming into bats at number seven as Hyderabad finished their quota of 20 overs at 178 for four.
Hyderabad captain Kane Williamson scored a fluent 41-ball 54 and Manish Pandey scored an unbeaten 57 off 42 balls. Opener Shikhar Dhawan faced one ball before retiring hurt, complaining pain. But what Hyderabad missed in their chase was the brute power of Gayle.
It is good to see Gayle returned to the party with that flare when his critics ruled him as a spent force. Interestingly, it was his first back-to-back 50 plus innings in the IPL since 2012.
SCORES IN BRIEF
KINGS XI PUNJAB: 193 for 3 in 20 overs (Gayle 104 not out, Nair 31, Rahul 18, Finch 14 not out; Kumar 1-25, Rashid 1-55, Kaul 1-33)
SUNRISERS HYDERABAD: 178 for 4 in 20 overs (Williamson 54, Pandey 57 not out, Shakib 24 not out; Mohit 2-51, Tye 2-23)
Result: Kings XI Punjab won by 15 runs
Player-of-the-match: Chris Gayle