Going into the fourth game of the 2018 VIVO Indian Premier League season, Sunrisers Hyderabad were undefeated with captain Kane Williamson and Shikhar Dhawan in scintillating form. Their trip to the IS Bindra stadium in Mohali was built up to be a cracker, with Kings XI Punjab in red hot form as well; and the game did not disappoint with West Indian powerhouse Chris Gayle stealing the show.
After winning the toss, KXIP decided to bat first and openers Lokesh Rahul and Gayle got off to a good start, getting a fifty-run partnership off eight overs before Rahul fell to the find of the tournament thus far, Rashid Khan. Mayank Agarwal then scored a quickfire 18 before being dismissed with the score reading 86/2 after 11 overs.
If T20 Cricket is a religion, Gayle is God .. Period ! #KXIPvSRH— Sumit kadel (@SumitkadeI) April 19, 2018
Gayle, who generally has a tendency to attack the bowlers from the get go, applied a different approach this time by cautiously building an innings with the odd boundaries to keep the strike rate high. He took on the year's eventual world number one T20 bowler, Rashid Khan, scoring four sixes of one of his overs; rendering him the most expensive bowler of the night with figures of 1-55 in his quota of four.
Gayle is destroying SRH. #KXIPvSRH— Kartik Dayanand (@KartikDayanand) April 19, 2018
The West Indian opener was well supported by Karun Nair who scored a clinical 31 off 21 deliveries, to ensure KXIP kept the run rate lofty. Gayle targeted the spinners, scoring the bulk of his runs against Khan and Shakib Al Hasan. The 39-year-old plundered a whopping 11 sixes and stroked just a solitary four in his unbeaten knock of 104, helping Kings XI set a daunting target of 194 for the visitors.
Gayle Storm in Mohali #KXIPvSRH— Uzair Hasan Rizvi (@RizviUzair) April 19, 2018
It was the first century of the league that season, his measured innings taking 63 balls. The knock proved too much for Hyderabad as disciplined bowling by the home side kept them in check, handing KXIP a victory by 15 runs. Gayle went on to dedicate the ton to his daughter, whose birthday was on the following day.
"I'm always determined. I always give it my all for whatever franchise I represent. I'm a 100 percent. It's a new franchise. I think Virender Sehwag has saved IPL by picking me," Gayle declared after winning the man of the match award for his match-winning century.
"A lot of people thought I'm too old, but after this innings, I have nothing to prove. Since joining Kings XI, Sehwag told me to stick with the yoga guy and a massage guy. That's the secret, I guess," he added.