Mohali’s PCA Stadium has witnessed a storm initiated by the leading run-scorer in Twenty20 cricket Chris Gayle last night. He simply lit up the IPL with his first century in season 11. Chris Gayle is still enjoying his unbeaten stride in the 11th season also that too with an age of 38. He launched his blitz with an unbeaten 104 off 63 deliveries to set up Kings XI Punjab‘s third win of the season, and later when accepting the Man-of-the-Match award, given all the credit to his new franchise’s director of cricket operations Virender Sehwag for “saving the IPL”.
This is the same Gayle who had been released by Royal Challengers Bangalore even after scoring 3420 runs from 91 matches standing at second in their all-time table before January’s IPL player auction, and on the first-day of the auction, he had gone unsold. But on the second day, when again he was called for a bid KXIP made a bid for him and got the record-setting Jamaican for his base price of Rs 2 crore. He was not in the side for KXIP in their first two matches of IPL 11, but when he got a chance in the third one he made an immediate mark with 63 off 33 balls.
Gayle with his Thursday’s rollicking century reached the number of 21st centuries in his T20 cricket. Gayle also assured after getting his fitness regime done that he will play all of KXIP’s remaining matches.
Gayle also had been seen giving credit to the Indian blaster Virendra Sehwag post the famous victory over SRH. “I think Virender Sehwag saved the IPL by picking me (in the January auctions),” said Gayle with a big smile. Everyone says I have a lot to prove. I am just here to put some respect in my name.”
Gayle did have a disappointing session in the last IPL with just one half-century in nine innings for RCB, but he always enjoyed success in other leagues in 2017. He hit a record 18 sixes during his unbeaten 146 for Rangpur Riders – against an attack featuring Sunil Narine, Shakib Al Hasan, and Shahid Afridi – in the Bangladesh Premier League final and scored 485 runs in the tournament, at a strike-rate of 176.36. Previously he had his record of collecting 376 runs in the Caribbean Premier League, hitting four fifties in 11 innings.
With two mind blasting innings in a row for KXIP, Gayle has shut the mouth of his critics with an implied proclamation that he still has plenty of gas in the tank.