Cricket

IPL 2018: Gayle,Rahul powers Punjab to the top of table

[caption id="attachment_65859" align="alignnone" width="580"]0030 Universe Boss Chris Gayle after his match winning knock at the Eden Gardens against KKR on Saturday. Image Source: Xtra Time[/caption]

Kolkata: Universe Boss Chris Gayle continued his good form in the Indian Premier League (IPL) as he powered his way to a blazing 62 off 38 balls to hand Kings XI Punjab a convincing 9 wickets win over Kolkata Knight Riders in a rain-curtailed match here at the Eden Gardens. The win also took the Lions on top of the table. KL Rahul played a perfect foil for Gayle as the Karnataka batsman smashed an unbeaten 60 runs off 27 balls.

Chasing a revised Duckworth-Lewis target of 125 after a 95 minutes' rain interruption, Punjab comfortably reached home with 11 balls to spare. Gayle, who scored his third fifty-plus score in a row also got the Orange Cap. He has now scored 229 runs in the three innings he played so far. The Jamaican scored the winning runs with a six off Tom Curran over long-on as they sealed the issue with 11 balls to spare.

Rahul also underlined his credentials as an T20 opener with a blistering 27-ball 60 studded with nine fours and two sixes as a transormed KXIP posted a third win in a row. It was also the first win for the Lions at the Eden Gardens since 2012.

Kings XI Punjab were 96 for no loss in 8.2 overs, 31 runs ahead of the DLS par score, when rain halted the play at 6.40pm, but there was no let up in intensity for Gayle as he resumed his innings with a huge six over long off to complete his fifty in 28 balls.

There was further setback in store for KKR as their big-hitting Jamaican Andre Russell was taken off in the fourth over after he seemed to have aggravated his troubled hamstring.

Earlier, Chris Lynn, who had a quiet season so far, got into his groove in his 74 off 41 balls (6x4, 4x6) en route to his maiden half-century in this IPL to lift KKR to a challenging 191/7.

Lynn stitched two crucial fifty-plus partnerships in the middle -- first 72 runs from 41 balls with Robin Uthappa (34) and then 62 off 34 balls with Dinesh Karthik (43) -- to help KKR overcome a shaky start after they were put in by Ravichandran Ashwin.

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