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Star Performer: Gayle storm in Abu Dhabi

By LAXMI NEGI
October 31, 2020 08:29 IST
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Chris Gayle

IMAGE: Chris Gayle looked set to score his 25th T20 century, but was bowled by Jofra Archer on 99.
In his mind, Gayle told the commentators after the first innings, he had still scored a century. Photograph: BCCI/IPL
 

Age cannot wither Chris Gayle's amazing quality.

On Friday night, in Abu Dhabi, after Kings XI Punjab were dealt an early blow, with Jofra Archer striking in his first over to dismiss Mandeep Singh, 41-year-old Gayle and Skipper K L Rahul maintained a high scoring rate, to take the Kings to 53 for 1 at the end of the powerplay.

The West Indian batting ace then went on to post his third fifty in six matches in IPL 2020 in style, hitting a six off Rahul Tewatia in the 11th over as KXIP cruised to the 100 run mark in the 13th over.

Gayle and Rahul (46) took on the Rajasthan Royals bowlers, stitching 120 runs for the second wicket in 13.4 overs.

Rahul, who played second fiddle to Gayle, was unable to get hit big shots and was out going for one, unable to clear the ropes as Tewatia took the catch near the boundary.

Nicholas Pooran played a late cameo of 22 off just 10 deliveries with the help of three sixes before being cleaned up by Ben Stokes, Tewatia again taking a well-judged catch near the boundary.

It was left to Universe Boss to up the ante. He hammered eight sixes in his explosive innings and brought up a staggering 1,000 sixes in T20 cricket with a maximum off Kartik Tyagi.

Gayle, who was left out of the KXIP side at the start of the tournament because he was ill, looked set to score his 25th T20 century, but was yorked by Archer on 99.

He showed his disappointment of missing out on the hundred by uncharacteristically flinging his bat to the ground. He then shook Archer's hand in appreciation of the delivery -- surely, the enduring image of IPL 2020 -- and walked back with his helmet on the top of his bat handle.

Dropped first by Riyan Parag on 10 and then by Tewatia on 50, Gayle rode his luck to give Kings XI hope of victory, only for Ben Stokes (50) and Sanju Samson (48) to play spoilsport.

Rajasthan Royals chased down the total with 14 balls to spare and kept their IPL hopes alive.

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