Captain Adam Gilchrist was delighted to shrug off a lean run of form in scoring a whirlwind century across the Kings XI Punjab’s 111-run triumph over the Bangalore Royal Challengers in Tuesday’s Indian Premier League clash at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala
Headed into the match with just 226 runs across a dozen innings at an average of 18.83 for his new franchise, the former Deccan Chargers star tonked a 55-delivery 106, which included eight fours and nine monstrous sixes.
The swashbuckling left-hander enjoyed a record 206-run second-wicket stand with fellow Australian Shaun Marsh, who weighed in with 79 not out, as the Punjab outfit’s choice to bat first yielded a hefty total of 232 for two.
With dangerman Chris Gayle out for a duck and hard-hitting opener Saurabh Tiwary back in the hut for a mere six runs, Bangalore’s pursuit was quickly in trouble and never recovered.
Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla bagged a four-wicket haul and seamer Ryan Harris pitched in with three scalps as the Royal Challengers’ chase ended at 121 all out in 17 overs.
“Considering that I had not been setting the world on fire with my contributions in the previous five or six games, it was nice to contribute,” enthused Gilchrist, who was named Man of the Match.
“In the first three or four overs I didn’t get a lot of the strike. I had just one run from eight or nine balls over the space of four or five overs. I kept telling myself not to panic, that it’s a small ground and that I could pick up the rate later on.”
Gilchrist paid tribute to the talented Marsh, whose fourth half-century of the tournament saw him climb to the top of the franchise’s 2011 run-scoring ranks with 491 at a strike-rate of 146.13.
“I enjoy Shaun’s calmness. There is no wild movement. It’s just a nice still base there. His decision-making has been really impressive,” added the wicketkeeper-batsman.
Bangalore’s attack leaked 17 fours and 15 sixes in total, with new-ball bowlers Johan van der Wath and Charl Langeveldt’s collective inability to find consistent lines and lengths conceding an expensive 98 runs from their combined eight overs.
“The Challengers didn’t quite get their lengths right. They enabled us to hit to the leg-side quite a bit. We were up with it with the bat here,” said Gilchrist.
The triumphant skipper basked in the early departure of in-form West Indian recruit Gayle, who was pinned down by a Praveen Kumar maiden and then fell to Harris.
“We had many plans for Gayle. Fortunately, he edged one and we got him. Praveen bowled beautifully to him. That should be acknowledged. He started off with a maiden. Normally, Gayle has 30-odd runs by then. That set the tone and then Ryan, obviously, got the result,”
Defeated captain Virat Kohli lauded Gilchrist for his three-figure blitz and Shaun Marsh’s complementary vigil after the duo’s 16-over alliance at a rate of 12.97.
“Adam batted really well. In the first six overs we managed to keep him down but thereafter he hit clean cricketing shots. Besides Gilchrist, you cannot forget Marsh as well. He played an important innings. Hats off to them for an amazing win,” said Kohli.
While Bangalore have already qualified for a spot in the semi-finals, Tuesday’s result left the Kings XI Punjab in marginal contention for graduation to the lucrative Twenty20 tournament’s last four teams.