Gayle, Rahul guide KXIP to victory

Chris Gayle joined K.L. Rahul in a show of belligerent stroke-making to help Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) easily overcome Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by nine wickets in a rain-curtailed IPL match here at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.

Chris Gayle and K. L. Rahul after winning against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.   -  K. R. Deepak

Chris Gayle joined K.L. Rahul in a show of belligerent stroke-making to help Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) easily overcome Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by nine wickets in a rain-curtailed IPL match here at the Eden Gardens on Saturday. Gayle remained unbeaten on 62 hitting half a dozen sixes and was given equal company by Rahul, who struck nine boundaries and couple sixes for his 27-ball 60. This yielded a partnership of 116-runs (in 58 balls) for the opening wicket helping KXIP pick up its first win at the venue since 2012.

Asked to bat first by the KXIP captain R. Ashwin, KKR scored 191 for seven but the target was revised in accordance to the DL method following a rain interruption. The visitor was asked to 125 runs in 13 overs, which the visitor did easily to complete an emphatic win in 11.1 overs.

SCOREBOARD AND BALL-BY-BALL DETAILS

Given a big target to overhaul, the KXIP openers got in the task picking up the KKR bowlers right from the start. Rahul showed the way with a flurry of boundaries before Gayle began unleashing his trademark sixes. The two were severe on almost all the KKR bowlers, including Shivam Mavi, Andre Russell and Piyush Chawla, to make the run chase look easy. Before the rains set in KXIP had reached 96 for no loss in 8.2 overs and continued in the same intensity on resuming the chase after a break of 95 minutes. Chris Gayle, who had scored 63 and an unbeaten 104 in his previous two outings against Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad, aggregated 229 runs from three innings after his unbeaten knock of 62 (38b, 5x4, 6x6) against KKR to be the current owner of the Orange Cap.

 

Earlier, Chris Lynn anchored KKR’s run compilation figuring in two big partnerships to help KKR bring up the big total. After Sunil Narine departed in the second over adding just a run to his name, Lynn was joined by Robin Uthappa for a partnership of 72 runs (in 41 balls) for the second wicket. The host absorbed the early departure of Narine, the pinch –hitter, as Uthappa got in the attacking mode right after his arrival. Uthappa (34) was scalped in the ninth over by the KXIP skipper as the former mistimed a pull and ended in the hands of Karun Nair in deep midwicket. The host suffered another blow as Nitish Rana who was run out by a fine effort from Ankit Rajpoot before and Lynn skipper Dinesh Karthik resumed the run making. Picking up his first half-century of the current season, Lynn made 74 (41b, 6x4, 4x6) while figuring in a 62-run (34 balls) partnership for the fourth wicket with Karthik (43) setting the stage for a big score.