IPL 2018 – KXIP vs SRH: Ruthless Gayle hands Hyderabad first loss


April 19, 2018

Brief Scorecard: Kings XI Punjab 193 for 3 (Gayle 104*, Nair 31) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 178 for 4 (Pandey 57*, Williamson 54, Tye 2-23) by 15 runs

April 19, 2018: Kings XI Punjab v Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2018, Mohali Gayle celebrated his sixth IPL hundred and 21st overall with the ‘cradle’ celebration. He later dedicated the innings to his daughter, who will turn two on Friday – BCCI

CHANDIGARH – And to think he nearly went unsold in the IPL auction.

Chris Gayle came to the party yet again, demolishing bowlers for the second consecutive game to set up yet another victory for Kings Xi Punjab on Thursday (April 19) at the PCA stadium in Mohali. At the receiving end of the Gayle storm was Sunrisers Hyderabad, who succumbed to their first loss of the season.

Gayle smashed an unbeaten 104 off 63 – his 21st century in T20s – to power Punjab to 193 for 3. In reply, Hyderabad scored 178 for 4, going down by 15 runs. They simply didn’t have enough muscle in their batting to challenge the hosts; Gayle hit 11 sixes (and one four), while Hyderabad’s batsmen managed only five sixes combined. It didn’t help Hyderabad that Shikhar Dhawan was forced to retire hurt in the second ball of the chase.

R Ashwin became the first captain in the tournament to opt to bat first, and that was perhaps because he wanted to give his in-form batting unit the license to go berserk. Why wouldn’t you, when you have an opening pair of KL Rahul and Gayle?

The duo started slowly; only 13 runs came in the first three overs, and Rahul managed only 18 off 21 balls before falling. But even as it seemed like they were slow, Gayle was settling down. They ensured Bhuvneshwar Kumar didn’t get an early strike, and once Gayle was in, all hell broke loose. It didn’t help Hyderabad that they surprisingly opted for Chris Jordan over the in-form Billy Stanlake.

Once Gayle was in, there was no stopping him. Much of the talk prior to the game was whether Gayle could repeat his striking form against an all-round bowling attack of Hyderabad. Bhuvneshwar was seen off, but Hyderabad still had Rashid Khan. Gayle smashed the Afghanistan spinner for four consecutive sixes in an over. Rashid ended his spell conceding 55 runs from four overs.

It was Gayle’s way of shifting gears; his half-century took 39 balls. Soon, he got his century off his 58th ball pushing Sidharth Kaul for a quick single to point. Yes, Gayle not just hit the big sixes, but also ran hard between the wickets.

The innings wasn’t just about Gayle though. The West Indian got good support from the Karnataka duo of Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair, who scored briskly in their brief stays. Even Aaron Finch made an unbeaten 14 off 6, his first runs of the tournament after two first-ballers.

For Hyderabad to have chased down the big total, they needed a good start. They got anything but that though, with Dhawan retiring hurt after a blow to the elbow by Barinder Sran in the second ball of the chase. Wriddhiman Saha followed soon, bowled by Mohit Sharma looking to slog across the line.

To catch up, Hyderabad sent Yusuf Pathan at No. 4. He got plenty of luck going his way when he was dropped twice – once each by R Ashwin and Yuvraj Singh – within his first five balls. The good fortune didn’t last long though, as he too was bowled by Mohit in the fifth over.

Hyderabad managed only 40 runs in the Power Play and lost two wickets, apart from Dhawan. Williamson kept going and stretched the game through the middle overs with busy batting, but found no support at the other end. He did have a 76-run stand for the third wicket with Manish Pandey, but the latter was way too slow to help the team’s cause.

Pandey struck only at around a run-a-ball for most part of his knock, and the pressure got to Williamson, who holed out soon after his half-century. Hyderabad needed 85 off the last six overs, and although they got close, most of their big-hitting came when it was a bit too late.

Courtesy/Source: Wisden India