Five games, five wins for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 season after losing six of their first seven games. The biggest change KXIP brought in the team in those five games is the inclusion of Chris Gayle. After the Universe Boss guided the team to a convincing 8-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Monday, skipper KL Rahul couldn’t stop hailing the iconic batsman.
Gayle’s inclusion in the team hasn’t just brought more reliability in the batting order but also a fear factor. With Gayle in the team, the opponent franchises know that Punjab can chase down targets, no matter how big it is.
Against the Knight Riders, Gayle once again produced a fine example of his hitting prowess as he hammered 51 runs off just 29 balls before being dismissed by Lockie Ferguson. The 41-year-old was subsequently named the man of the match for his heroics.
“It was a very hard decision not to play him (Chris Gayle) because he was batting really well. This is the hungriest I have ever seen him in the last 7-8 years that I have played with him. He is running his ones and twos, so that’s refreshing,” said Rahul, speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Even when Gayle was not a part of the team, he continued to motivate the Kings XI boys in the dressing room. Rahul highlighted such qualities of the Windies stalwart that makes him such an important member of the team.
“He’s always positive, always pushing the youngsters. It’s great to have someone with that much experience. To go out there and keep doing it game after game and year after year is inspiring. We love having Chris in the dressing room, he brings a lot to the team. Just his presence means a lot to the dressing room,” Rahul asserted.
Courtesy Gayle’s fifty, KXIP sit 4th in the points table with the playoffs qualification in their own hands. With two more games to go in the league stage, Punjab wouldn’t want to take their foot off the gas in order to ensure their progression into the knockouts.