Chris Gayle hit an unbeaten 62, his third fifty-plus knock on the trot, as Kings XI Punjab recorded a massive nine-wicket win against hosts Kolkata Knight Riders at the rain-hit Eden Gardens yesterday.
The 38-year-old Jamaican, who only a couple of days back said that Vireder Sehwag has saved the Indian Premier League by drafting him in the billion-dollar tournament, once again provided the flare he is revered for in the shortest format of the game.
The power-hitting left-hander made the impressive Kolkata total of 191 an easy chase in company of Lokesh Rahul as the left-right opening pair plundered 96 runs before rain intervened in 8.2 overs.
Interestingly, Gayle hit the last ball before rain for a six against leg-spinner Piyush Chawla to complete his fifty off 27 balls. He then hit the same bowler for another six when the game resumed and Kings XI were given a revised target of 125 in 13 overs. Kings XI raced to the target with 11 balls to spare and for the loss of Rahul, who hit a blistering 27-ball 60 that contained nine fours and two sixes.
Gayle, who hit a majestic 104 in the previous game against Sunrisers Hyderabad at Mohali, struck half a dozen sixes and five fours in his 38-ball 62 and in the process became the leading run-scorer of the tournament.
It was Kings XI's first win in their last six attempts at the Eden and they finished as table-toppers of the IPL on Saturday.
SCORES IN BRIEF
KKR: 191 for 7 (Lynn 74, Karthik 43, Uthappa 34; Tye 2-30)
Kings XI Punjab: 126 for 1 (Target 125 in 13 overs) Gayle 62 not out, Rahul 60; Narine 1-23)
Result: Kings XI won by 9 wickets (D/L method)
Player-of-the-match: Lokesh Rahul.