Chris Gayle smashed 53 in his first outing this Indian Premier League season to give Kings XI Punjab their second win of the virus-hit Twenty20 tournament on Thursday. Gayle, the 41-year-old self-styled ‘Universe Boss’ who after sitting out for 7 games smashed five sixes in his 45-ball knock to announce his arrival in the United Arab Emirates. After completing his 50, Gayle pointed at his Bat Sticker with message ’The Boss’. When asked by Sunil Gavaskar during the presentation interview, what the message was all about, this is what Gayle had to say –
“I just wanted to tell everyone- give some respect to The BOSS”, probably hinting out that he wasn’t happy by the decision of KXIP management to make him sit out for the 7 games.
When asked, were you nervous coming into the match – Gayle was quick to reply, ‘UNIVERSE BOSS doesn’t get nervous’
“It is the Universe Boss batting, how can I be nervous?” the left-handed said after the win. “I might give you a heart attack, I thought I had it in the bag but stranger things have happened in cricket.
“It was a very sticky surface, very slow, but it was better batting second. The team asked me to do a job at three and it wasn’t an issue (coming one down from his usual opening slot).”, said Gayle.
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) October 15, 2020
The explosive West Indies batsman walked in at number three to put on a key 93-run partnership with skipper KL Rahul, who made an unbeaten 61, as Punjab chased down 172 to beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by eight wickets in Sharjah. The match witnessed late drama with Punjab, needing two for victory, scored just one run and lost Gayle to a run out on the fifth ball before Nicholas Pooran hit the winning six on the last ball off leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.
— Kings XI Punjab (@lionsdenkxip) October 15, 2020
On Gayle’s first appearance after seven games, Rahul said, “He was training hard, he wanted be out on the park. It was a tough call to make and not make him play. It’s important to keep the lion hungry. Wherever he bats, he’s dangerous.”
IPL 2020 : KL Rahul happy with the performance, ‘we don’t deserve to be at the bottom of points table’
The in-form Rahul consolidated his top spot in the IPL batting chart with 448 runs as the opener struck his fourth fifty — he has hit a hundred as well — of the season.
Rahul put on 78 with opening partner Mayank Agarwal, who made 45 off 25 deliveries before becoming Chahal’s 200th T20 victim.
Punjab though still languish at the bottom of the eight-team table with two wins from eight games in the Twenty20 tournament that was moved out of India due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“As a group, we have been disappointing. It can get frustrating. Our skills were good, but we didn’t capitalise on the big moments,” said Rahul.
“It becomes a habit – winning and not winning. There are ups and downs and this has been the roller-coaster. We wanted this win to get some confidence in the group.”
Earlier Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli made 48 before Chris Morris’ late-order cameo propelled Bangalore to 171 for six after electing to bat first.
Mohammed Shami claimed two key wickets including Kohli and the in-form AB de Villiers, who was dropped down to six in the batting order, for two.
But the India paceman conceded 24 in the final over with Morris hitting three sixes to finish off the innings on a high with his unbeaten 25 off eight deliveries.