It’s a low scoring tournament for me from a personal point of view. The captain came to me and told me that it is a shorter game and you can play your natural game. It eventually paid off today and I am very very happy. - Chris Gayle
Kieron Pollard had advised reporters against counting out Chris Gayle after delivering memorable back to back sixes to keep Karachi Kings in the playoffs contention. Gayle had been dropped for that match against Lahore Qalandars and Mahela Jayawardene made his Pakistan Super League debut in the hard-hitting batsman’s absence.
Less than 24 hours later, making his return for Kings in a rain-curtailed match against the defending champions Islamabad United, Gayle lived up to his reputation of being one of the most destructive batsmen playing the game.
His side needed to put 111 or more to ensure qualification in the chase of 124, and Gayle’s quickfire 45 played a crucial role in getting the job done.
“He’s [Gayle] going to win a couple of games and it might be when we need him the most,” Pollard had said a day before.
Opening the batting with Kings’ most prolific batsman Babar Azam, Gayle took his time to read the wicket’s behaviour that has stayed under covers for the whole day due to erratic drizzles.
He blasted Mohammad Irfan for two consecutive sixes over cow-corner in the fifth over and followed up with three gigantic sixes off Saeed Ajmal in the next over, before edging the off-spinner to short third-man.
“I wasn’t playing any cricket which definitely got me rusty,” Gayle said when asked what took so long for him to show up. “I am a professional, I am not going to find any excuse. I did find some time to practice here in PSL, but it was always going to take some time. You definitely need some time to get back into the groove. Once you get into that situation, things start to flow your way. But it is actually cricket, you fail more than you succeed.”
Before this 15-ball knock, in which he hit two fours and five sixes, the 37-year-old had accumulated only 59 runs in six matches. Gayle had had a rather forgettable run with the bat during the inaugural season, scoring just 103 runs – of which 60 had come in one match - in five matches.
Gayle bats during Kings’s opening contest. — PSL
With the newly found rhythm, Gayle hopes this is a beginning of something profound for him in the PSL. “It’s a low scoring tournament for me from a personal point of view. The captain came to me and told me that it is a shorter game and you can play your natural game. It eventually paid off today and I am very very happy.
“What was really important was that emcee announcing Chris Gayle, Chris Gayle and the stand erupting and everybody was cheering so that gave me some boost as well. I am glad that I have given them something to cheer about today. I am hopeful that this will happen again.”
After having made it to the playoffs, Kings face United on Wednesday at the iconic Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Gayle has not lived up to his reputation there yet. Wednesday might be his day. But it can be the other way round, as, you fail more than you succeed in this game.
Watch: Gayle demolish United.