Abu Dhabi [UAE], October 31 (ANI): Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) batsman Chris Gayle's gutsy knock went in vain as Rajasthan Royals chased down the target on Friday but skipper KL Rahul praised the 'Universe Boss' and said it wasn't easy to bat on a "sticky" wicket.
KXIP's run-scoring was largely powered by Gayle as he smashed 99 runs off 63 balls. The 'Universe Boss' also completed 1000 sixes in the T20 cricket.
However, an all-round batting performance helped the Royals sealed a seven-wicket win over KXIP here at Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Friday.
Rahul said the way Gayle batted no one will ever say he is 41 years old. The skipper also said that the 'Universe Boss' is a huge part of their dressing room.
"I thought we were 10-15 runs ahead of a par score. We've seen scores here before and 160-170 was what we decided to be a winning total. After losing Mandeep early, I and Chris felt like the wicket wasn't an easy one to bat on. A lot of credit goes to Chris. I don't think anyone apart from Chris would've been able to bat like that on a sticky wicket and give us the best chance to win the game," said Rahul in the post-match press conference.
"I have said this before, he (Gayle) is a huge part of our dressing room, and to have somebody like that is very very inspiring. He keeps the dressing room positive and there's a lot of fun happening when Chris is batting. No one will say he's 41. He still looks like the Gayle when he first burst out in the IPL, he added.
Rahul also feels that the dew factor had a role to play as it became easy to bat in the second innings.
"One of the big reasons why the Royals could bat their way was the dew factor. Not taking anything away from their batters. They did put pressure on our bowlers and used the powerplay efficiently," said Rahul
"Every batsman who came in started striking the ball and hitting boundaries. It worked for them and dew was a big reason behind that," he added.
KXIP are still alive in the playoff race as they are at fourth spot with 12 points in 13 games just above Rajasthan Royals (12 points) courtesy of better net run-rate. They will next take on Chennai Super Kings in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, November 1. (ANI)