Chris Gayle scored the first ton of the 2018 IPL season as Kings XI Punjab registered a comfortable 15-run victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in Mohali on Thursday.
The big-hitting Jamaican smashed an unbeaten 104 which helped Punjab reach 193/3 in their allotted 20 overs.
He hit 11 sixes and just 1 boundary in the innings, and was helped by small contributions around him.
K.L. Rahul and Mayank Agarwal scored 18 each while Karun Nair scored 31 off 21 balls while Finch helped finish the innings with a quick-fire 14 off just 6 balls. Gayle also ran hard between the wickets, a feature one doesn’t usually see in his batting.
Spinners, who have been the backbone of Sunrisers attack, were targeted as Rashid Khan conceded 55 runs off his four overs-including one where Gayle hit 4 consecutive sixes.
Shakib(2/28) and Hooda (1/16) didn’t fare any better either. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was again the standout bowler, ending with figures of 1/25.
In reply, Sunrisers received a major blow in the first over itself when in-form Shikhar Dhawan had to retire hurt after a Barinder Sran delivery hit him on the back of his elbow.
Fellow opener Wriddhiman Saha didn’t last long either, departing for 6. Big hitting Yusuf Pathan failed to make use of two lives given to him, as he could only make 19 before dragging one onto the stumps off Mohit Sharma.
Skipper Kane Williamson and Manish Pandey both scored fine half-centuries and put on a 73-run partnership for the fourth wicket but Sunrisers were never really in the game.
They struggled to clear the boundaries, with only three sixes between them. Good news for SRH though will be that Pandey did manage to find some sort of form going ahead into the tournament.
For KXIP, skipper Ashwin was expensive with the ball, conceding 53 runs off his 4 overs. Mohit Sharma too conceded 51 runs, picking two wickets.
Gayle was named Man of the Match for his unbeaten ton.
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