Resurgent Gayle blasts Karachi Kings into PSL playoffs

Chris Gayle

Resurgent West Indian batsman Chris Gayle finally came good for Karachi Kings and led his team to a six-wicket win over Islamabad United in a rain-hit Pakistan Super League encounter at The Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.

Gayle, who was dropped in the team’s previous must-win match against Lahore Qalandars on Saturday, looked in belligerent form after smashing 44 runs off 17 balls to help chase Islamabad’s 123 for 7 in 15 overs.

His knock included five sixes and two fours. The Kings also needed to get to 111 to keep their net run rate above that of Lahore.

After being sent in to bat Islamabad opener Dwayne Smith and Ben Duckett put on 37 runs in 4.3 overs before Sohail Khan had Duckett caught at mid-on by Kieron Pollard for 16.  The West Indian was joined at the crease by Brad Haddin and kept the score moving. Both were back in the pavilion in the 14th over from the bowling of Usman Khan.  Smith scored 49 from 36 balls with seven fours and a six, while Haddin’s added 20 runs off 12 balls.

Pollard..steadied the ship
Pollard..steadied the ship

In the run chase Gayle got after the target in aggressive fashion after opening with the in-form Babar Azam.  He lashed Mohammad Irfan for two straight sixes in the fifth over and also took the attack to Saeed Ajmal, hitting three consecutive sixes but was snared in the same over at short third man.

Gayle’s wicket prompted a slight collapse for the Kings.  Skipper Kumar Sangakkara scored a run a ball 10 before getting caught at long on, and Shoaib Malek, the next man up, was caught behind by Brad Haddin off Shadab Khan for 7. Azam who scored a run-a-ball 27 was dismissed by the very next ball from Shadab.  Like he had in the previous day, however, Kieron Pollard steered the Kings home as they seven runs were required off the final over.

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