Chris Gayle, IPL 2018, Kings XI Punjab
Chris Gayle scored his 6th IPL hundred to help KXIP register their 3rd win in IPL 2018

A Chris Gayle special, knuckle balls and scoreboard pressure helped Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) record their third victory in VIVO IPL 2018. In Match 16 of the tournament, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) suffered their first defeat of the season. With 3 wins, KXIP retained their third position in the points table, just behind SRH on net run rate. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) continue to to the chart. KXIP beat SRH after four years and for the first time at home.

SRH needed a flier at top in bid to chase 194. Exactly the opposite ensued, courtesy some tight bowling from Barinder Sran. Shikhar Dhawan would have been key for SRH, but the visitors faced a huge blow upfront when he had to retire hurt after being struck on the left elbow in the first over by Sran. Wriddhiman Saha looked tentative and was cleaned up by Mohit Sharma in the second over. Yusuf Pathan walked in and almost perished on the first ball that he faced. Ravichandran Ashwin misjudged at mid-off and Yusuf got a four. Yusuf got another life in the next over off Sran when Yuvraj Singh put down a sitter at point.

IPL 2018, KXIP vs SRH: Chris Gayle hits 11 sixes, breaks numerous records
IPL 2018, KXIP vs SRH: Chris Gayle hits 11 sixes, breaks numerous records

Not that Yusuf made the chances count. Mohit hit his stumps in the fifth over. SRH were just 40 for 2 at this point (technically 40 for 3 with no Dhawan) in their Powerplay.

Kane Williamson and Manish Pandey added 76 for the third wicket but failed to accelerate. The pressure kept mounting. After Sran’s first spell of 3-0-9-0, Andrew Tye kept things extremely tight in the middle overs. He dismissed Williamson for 54 and Deepak Hooda for 5.

Pandey brought up his 18th T20 fifty but it was always going to be catch up game. Shakib Al Hasan’s late assault ensured SRH’s losing margin was not big enough: he finished with a 12-ball 24*. Ashwin’s leg-breaks yielded very little result as he finished with 4-0-53-0. However, he ended up being the winning captain.

G-A-Y-L-E

Earlier, Gayle’s sixth IPL hundred (and 21st of his career) had lit up Mohali. Of course, no man has achieved anything remotely close to 21 hundreds, and no one is in proximity either. Gayle reached the landmark in 58 balls. He smacked Rashid Khan for 4 consecutive sixes in the 14th over of the innings. Rashid finished with 4-0-55-1.

Gayle had gone almost unsold in the auctions and was a last-moment pick by KXIP, at base price. He sat out in the first 2 games this season but when an opportunity came, he proved his worth.

More on first innings…

Brief scores

Kings XI Punjab 193 for 3 in 20 overs [Chris Gayle 104 (63)*, Karun Nair 31 (21); Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4-0-25-1] vs Sunrisers Hyderabad 178 for 4 in 20 overs [Kane Williamson 54 (41), Manish Pandey 57 (42)*, Andrew Tye 4-0-23-2] by 15 runs.

Man of the Match: Chris Gayle.