Chris Gayle, a late pick for the Kings XI Punjab, repaid their faith with a blistering 63 which proved enough to defeat the Chennai Super Kings by four runs.
Gayle, who had been dumped by Royal Challengers Bangalore, was exuberant after sitting out the first two games. ‘I got a text saying, ”you’ll be playing”. It’s good to be back and back among the runs,’ he said.
At first, the Kings XI score of 197-7 looked a bit short of what they wanted, considering Gayle and Lokesh Rahul (37) put on 96 for the first wicket and they were 127-1 in the 12th over when Gayle finally fell, having smashed seven fours and four sixes off 33 balls.
The innings then fell away a bit. Imran Tahir removed Mayank Agarwal, who had made a valuable 30 off 19, and Aaron Finch with successive balls in the 15th over. The Kings XI, then at 149-4, struggled to regain their momentum.
Chennai were doing well enough at 39-1 after four overs, but the big turning point came when Ravi Ashwin brilliantly ran out Ambati Rayudu (49 off 35) after he and MS Dhoni had put on 57 for the fourth wicket. The problem was, they had taken seven overs to do it.
Dhoni, though, went on the attack, taking the game to the last over. He ended on 79 off 44 balls, with six fours and five sixes, but it was just not enough.