Cricket has often been a cruel game when it has disallowed a deserving side or an individual a much-earned success. And the Chris Gayle was on receiving end of that when he got out at 99 after smashing his 1000th T20 six in Abu Dhabi in a crucial encounter against Rajasthan Royals.
The 41-year-old Jamaican shot his eighth six of the ininngs to reach 99 but was castled by Jofra Archer in the very next delivery; leaving Gayle frustrated as he threw his bat in the air before appreciating Archer's effort with a friendly handshake.
His firework of an innings helped KXIP post 185/4 on a sluggish surface with KL Rahul chipping in with a valuable 46 in 120-run second-wicket stand with Gayle.
Interestingly, Gayle aslo became the only batsman in the history of IPL to get hold out at 99.
Sent into bat first, KXIP were in trouble from word go after Mandeep Singh (0 off 1) failed to deal with a quick bouncer from Jofra Archer, prompting a diving catch from Ben Stokes running from the point with the scoreboard reading 1/1.
However, skipper KL Rahul and no. 3 Chris Gayle shouldered the responsibility of scoring from there on with the latter being the aggressor of the two. The duo took the side past 50 runs by the end of the powerplay; smashing five boundaries and three sixes.
Rajasthan did make two costly errors of dropping Gayle twice in the innings. First was in the fourth over of the innings when Varun Aaron’s short delivery took top edge of Gayle bat with Riyan Parag dropping it at deep square leg with two fielders coming under it. The second instance was right after Gayle reach his fifty when the Jamaican shot it high only to find Tewatia rushing towards it off his own bowling. However, he bowler couldn’t reach the ball on time despite a diving effort.
Post powerplay, Gayle ensured that big hits kept coming in every over as he raced to his third fifty in 33 deliveries to put KXIP in a dominant position in the game.
Gayle reached his fifty in the 11th over when he shot Rahul Tewatia for a six over the cow corner.
Gayle then brought up his 100-wicket stand with Rahul at the end of the 13th over when he shot Tewatia for another six; this time over the long-on region, just clearing the fences with Stokes making a fail attempt to grab it.
The partnership ended in the 15th over when Stokes removes Rahul just four-run short of his fifty 22nd fifty in the tournament. The partnership added 120 runs on the board of 82 deliveries.
However with hard-hitting Nicholas Pooran in at no.4 meant the runs kept on flowing at a canter from both the ends. The West Indian duo added quick 41 runs for the wicket with Pooran (22 off 10) falling at the end of 18th over to Stokes as his second wicket of the night.
Gayle kept plundering the RR bowler before he was bowled out by Archer in the final over of the innings.