Universe Boss Chris Gayle, whose 25-ball 50 handed KXIP their fifth win on the bounce, claimed that he understood that going after the bowling was the need of the hour, with Mandeep Singh playing anchor. Walking in at 47/1 in the 8th over, Gayle smashed 5 sixes to help take KXIP over the line.
There are few ‘dream scenarios’ for avid cricket lovers than “Chirs Gayle and Sharjah” and after scoring a ‘mature’ half-century versus Royal Challengers Bangalore in his last outing at the venue, today, the Universe Boss brought out his true self. In what was a knock that shattered KKR hearts, Gayle took on the Knight Riders bowlers from ball one and bulldozed his way to his second half-century of the season, off just 25 balls. Gayle’s knock featured five sixes and that helped KXIP stay ahead of the required run rate.
Named Man of the Match for his efforts, the Universe Boss revealed that he played with intent as he knew that he had to take pressure off Mandeep Singh at the other end.
“We are happy now, still a long way to go. It was important to assess the conditions as quickly as possible. Two very good spinners, it was important to adjust quickly. Once you get the first boundary going, I was always going to get into the zone. I eased a bit of pressure off Mandeep, he batted really well and it was a great partnership,” Gayle said in the post match presentation.
Gayle, today, was involved in a mouth-watering match-up with fellow West Indian Sunil Narine, and, unsurprisingly, it was the ‘youngster’ who came out on top, smashing the mystery spinner down the ground not once, but twice. The 41-year-old revealed that he seized his opportunity to get one over his good mate on a flat batting wicket.
“Sunil has got me out so many teams. You got to make best use of it because the wicket wasn't suiting for him.”
Gayle sat out the first seven games of the tournament, but Punjab have won 5/5 since his introduction into the side. Reflecting on the flawless run, the southpaw said that he instilled belief into his teammates before making his first appearance, and expressed his happiness over senior players stepping up at crucial junctures for the side.
“We needed some sort of momentum to get that will power. We need senior players to step up. Glad that me and Mandeep put our hands up.”
The win took KXIP to 4th in the points table. Thanks to KKR’s low NRR, two more wins for KXIP should ensure a spot in the playoffs.