Chris Gayle punishes Kings XI Punjab in the IPL

West Indian scores 87 to guide Royal Challengers Bangalore to a five-wicket win in Mohali.

Chris Gayle took just 56 balls to stroke a match-winning knock of 87 as Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Kings XI Punjab.
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Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers were the heroes of last night's IPL game as Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Kings XI Punjab by five wickets in Mohali.

Gayle scored a 56-ball 87 and de Villiers faced 39 balls to stroke a fluent 52 to give the Bangalore side victory that lifted them to third from bottom in the table with six points.

Bangalore, who lost three games on the trot after winning their opener against Delhi Daredevils, seem to be turning their season around after yesterday's win followed a come-from-behind success against Pune Warriors at home on Tuesday night.

Gayle, in true West Indian tradition, hit the ball hard and landed four sixes and eight fours on a wicket that was not entirely suited to the batsmen. And in true West Indian style, he later joked about the way he bats.

"There should be some protection for the umpires and the fans in the stadium [for their next game against Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur]," he said at the post-match presentation ceremony. "You don't want a loose ball hitting you. Thank God no one got hit today."

Gayle, though, would have found the going tougher had he not received support from de Villiers. The duo were involved in a 131-run stand after struggling at 25 for three at one point in the game, while chasing 164 to win. He duly gave credit to the South African when he said: "AB came on and played wonderfully. Good win."

Credit should also go to Parvinder Awana, the Punjab medium pacer, whose figures of four for 34, made a match of it.

David Hussey (41), who led Punjab in the absence of Adam Gilchrist, top-scored for the hosts before Azhar Mahmood, the all-rounder playing in his first game for Punjab, added 33 runs to the total.

In other IPL news, Marlon Samuels, the West Indies all-rounder, yesterday lashed out at critics of his bowling action, saying they were "evil".

"They are doing it because they can't play my bowling," the Pune player told the Times of India. "If I was hit into the galleries, my action would never have been questioned."

The off-spinner was reported last week by match officials for a suspect bowling action after his team's match against defending champions Chennai Super Kings.

According to IPL rules, Samuels, 31, will be suspended from bowling for the rest of the tournament if his action is reported again.

Samuels has faced problems with his action in the past, particularly when bowling his faster deliveries. The West Indies star was suspended from bowling when reported for a suspect action after the third Test against South Africa in Durban in 2008. He underwent remedial work and was cleared to bowl by the ICC last year.

Samuels, who has claimed 19 Test and 67 one-day international wickets, said the "faster ball" was a spinner's weapon. "I have worked very hard on my bowling," he told the newspaper.

"Slow bowlers these days need to have variations and the faster ball is surely a great weapon to have."

Sourav Ganguly, the former India captain who is leading Pune, defended Samuels.

"I'm surprised that he has been warned," Ganguly told reporters. "If you look around the IPL, I'll be honest, there are worse actions going on."

* Agencies

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