Sunday, January 21, 2018

Gayle returns but can’t save RCB


West Indies batting star Chris Gayle marked his first game of this year’s Indian Premier League with a brief cameo, but his presence was not enough to halt Royal Challengers Bangalore’s losing slide.

Sent in at the Dubai International Stadium, RCB were held to a disappointing 124 for eight off their 20 overs, and Kings XI Punjab reached their target for the loss of five wickets with seven deliveries remaining.

The victory left Kings XI Punjab unbeaten for the season and with their fifth straight win, while RCB crashed to their third straight defeat. It was Gayle, however, who was the centre of attention. After missing the first four games through injury, his return was highly anticipated and he did not disappoint.

He belted 20 from just seven balls, with two fours and two sixes, all coming in the first over of the game from Australian Glenn Maxwell’s off-spin. Gayle started in streaky fashion, edging the first ball past slip for four and squirting the third delivery over point, for another boundary. He missed a sweep at the fourth ball and had a confident lbw shout turned down but cleared long off and long on with the two final deliveries, to finish the over on a high.

The entertainment was over before it had begun, however, as Gayle charged the second ball of the next over from seamer Sandeep Sharma (3-15), missed and had his off-stump disturbed.

Three more wickets fell for just five runs to leave RCB on 26 for four before the much maligned Yuvraj Singh hit 35 from 32 balls to rescue the innings.

In reply, Kings XI got a top score of 32 off 26 balls from opener Virender Sehwag and a 20-ball 26 from South Africa’s David Miller, to clinch victory.