Mohali: Kings XI Punjab opener KL Rahul has shot a warning to rival teams in the Indian Premier League: beware of Chris Gayle as he is back at his brutal best.
Gayle, playing his first game of the season, smashed his second fastest IPL fifty, off 22 balls, to lay the foundation for KXIP's thrilling four-run win over Chennai Super Kings last night.
"It is amazing news for our team and bad news for the other teams that Chris Gayle is hitting the ball well. We all know he is a player who can win games single handedly and demolish attacks on his day and that's what he did today. We want him and we expect him to continue this form forward," said Rahul, who himself has been in top form, at the post-match media interaction.
Not so long ago, Gayle went unsold in the auction twice before KXIP picked him up for a base price of Rs 2 crore, the same amount they paid for Yuvraj Singh.
KXIP play their next home game against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Thursday.
Asked about the plans against Sunrisers, Rahul said, "Every team in the IPL is good. We are going to stick to our plans, we will stick to our strengths. We will see where we can better Sunrisers Hyderabad.
"Our plans are going to be simple whichever team we face, and we will go out there and play aggressive cricket."
About batting first and setting the target for the opposition, he said, "If you are batting first as an opener, you give yourselves a couple of overs to see how's the wicket behaving and then try to assess what a good score on that wicket would be and plan accordingly.
"By the look of the wicket, I don't think anybody can tell it is going to behave a certain way. Even though this is our home game, we are still getting to know what the wicket is like. Once we play a couple of overs, then we decide what a good target on that wicket is," he said.
CSK skipper MS Dhoni almost got CSK over the line with a refreshing 79 off 44 balls.
Asked what the plan was to contain him, Rahul said "the plan was to bowl wide yorkers at him because he was struggling with his back. But good back or bad back, you pitch it in his arc and he is still going to hit it miles. It was good learning for our bowling attack but still early stage in this IPL."