Indian Premier League 2020
Gayle returns in style as Kings upset RCB
Veteran West Indian blaster hits 53, Finch and Maxwell square off as Punjab get home on final ball
16 October 2020, 07:08 AM AEST
A 41-year-old Chris Gayle wound back the clock with a six-laden half-century in his return to competitive cricket as Kings XI Punjab sprung an upset over Royal Challengers Bangalore in Sharjah overnight.
Gayle and opener KL Rahul each hit fifties against their former side as Punjab enjoyed an eight-wicket win - just their second of the season, and both against RCB - though what had been a comfortable run chase somehow morphed into a nail-biting final over, the winning runs eventually struck via a six from West Indian Nicholas Pooran from the last ball of the match.
Set 172 to win after Virat Kohli's 47 anchored the RCB innings and allrounder Chris Morris (25no from 8) struck some lusty late blows, Kings XI appeared to be cruising to their target when Rahul (61no) and Mayank Agarwal (45 from 25) raced past 70 in the eight over.
Agarwal's exit briefly stalled their momentum as Gayle, who had not played in this tournament in 2020 and was most recently laid low with a stomach bug.
There had been speculation the big-hitting left-hander would replace Glenn Maxwell, who is yet to hit his straps this tournament, however Maxwell held his spot though ultimately the Australian was not required to bat.
After reaching seven from 15 balls, Gayle let loose, hitting 46 from his next 30 balls including five maximums, several of which were powered over long off and long on in his trademark fashion.
With 11 needed from 18 balls, the match seemed all but over, before the complexion of the contest shifted remarkably in the closing stages.
From the final over, with two runs required, Kohli brought in his field, confident in the knowledge Gayle - who has been hampered by a chronic back injury - would struggle to run a quick single.
Sure enough, the Jamaican was run-out from the penultimate ball of the match, leaving Pooran to walk to the middle with the scores level and promptly dispatch his first ball for six down the ground for the win.
Earlier, the match had begun with Aussie housemates Maxwell and Aaron Finch facing off, the former's off-breaks going for a reasonably tidy 28 from four overs.
Finch's 20 included three boundaries but it was another start wasted for the Victorian, though his captain Kohli quickly picked up the slack, driving the second ball he faced handsomely through cover for four.
And when Morris took 24 - including three sixes - from the final over, a total of 6-171 looked a defendable one.
The result leaves RCB in third position on 10 points, while Kings XI remain at the bottom of the ladder.