Chris Gayle said it was nice to be able to win the battle between himself and mystery spinner Sunil Narine in the Kings XI Punjab’s emphatic victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders in Sharjah on Monday.
Man-of-the-Match Gayle, 41, scored a 29-ball 51 in a second-wicket stand of 100 from just 60 balls with Mandeep Singh, who top scored with an unbeaten 66 as KXIP ran out eight-wicket victors.
Gayle took 17 runs off Narine’s bowling that included two of his five sixes that were creamed over wide long off the Trinidadian in the 11th and 13th over, respectively. The Universe Boss just failed to remain unbeaten getting out from a slower ball from Lockie Ferguson in the 19th over with KXIP just three runs short of their target.
Narine, meanwhile, went wicketless while conceding 27 from his four overs.
Gayle said it was great to get one up against one of the best T20 bowlers in the world.
“Sunil has got me out so many times. He is the best spinner in the world. So when you get a wicket like this, when it is not turning much, you got to cash in,” Gayle said even as he praised the match-winning knock from Mandeep, who is mourning the loss of his father.
“Mandeep is going through a lot. Last game we said we want to win it for him. So beautiful to watch him in the middle pointing out to his father watching from above. And dad, my dad, I love you. Today, the coach asked the senior players, we need to step up in crucial games, I am glad we were able to put my hand up. And the youngsters in the team are telling me, ‘Don’t retire.'”
Gayle’s form has been on the upswing since he made his season debut for KXIP after missing out on playing during the first half of the season, partly due to a case of food poisoning that resulted in him being briefly hospitalized.
“Been training off the field when not playing. Doing my runs. Gym. Feeling good,” said Gayle, who is also optimistic about his team finishing the season well after their fifth win on the trot.
“Have a good feeling about myself and the team. Just capitalizing on it, but still a long way to go.” (Sportsmax)