Gayle fires Kings XI to the top of the table
Chris Gayle hit another IPL half-century as Kings XI Punjab moved top of the table with a nine-wicket victory over Kolkata Knights Riders via the Duckworth Lewis method.
Gayle has proved a shrewd acquisition by the Kings XI bosses after they snapped him up in the third round of bidding during the auction, the explosive opener's unbeaten 62 taking him to 229 runs in three games.
After his stunning century last time out much was expected of Gayle and he duly delivered, ably assisted by opening partner KL Rahul (60).
Set 192 to win, the Kings XI openers peppered the boundary at will as they hunted down Kolkata's total, only rain able to slow them down.
With both Gayle and Rahul nearing fifty the showers brought play to a halt at Eden Gardens with Kings XI 96-0 and after a 90-minute delay the equation was reduced to just 29 needed off 28 deliveries.
Gayle launched the first ball after the restart for six as the visitors made short work of their run chase to make it four wins from five.
LYNN LEADS THE WAY
Chris Lynn has struggled to make much of an impact in the opening stages of the season with his best score just 49 from five previous matches.
He stepped up to the plate on Saturday, though, with a brisk 74 at the top of the order that helped anchor Kolkata's innings.
Lynn took a particular shining to Barinder Sran in the eighth over, the Australian taking 16 off four balls as the seamer returned figures of 2-50.
Having been made to wait to secure another half-century, Gayle wasted no time in wrapping things up with some brutal hitting.
Piyush Chawla restarted his over and saw the ball sail over his head as Gayle got hold of a full toss with a crisp straight drive - bringing up his fifty in the process.
And to cap the innings off nicely, what proved to be the final delivery also went sailing over the boundary as the West Indian smacked Tom Curran for his sixth maximum of the day.
"It's good to be among the runs," he said in an on-pitch interview. "To be honest, I didn't really strike it well, but when you have a momentum going you need to capitalise."
"CHRIS IS CHRIS"
Ravichandran Ashwin hailed a superb knock from Rahul in his post-match interview, but struggled to find the superlatives to describe match-winner Gayle.
"I am happier with this win, compared to the previous one," he said. "KL looked like a million dollars, and well, Chris is Chris."