Gayle return makes no difference as Punjab win again

Sandeep Sharma takes three Bangalore wickets as IPL's table-toppers win fifth game in a row, reports Paul Radley.

Sandeep Sharma took three Royal Challengers Bangalore wickets in Dubai on Monday night. Pawan Singh / The National
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DUBAI // George Bailey says his Kings XI Punjab side will “reload and relaunch” when they get back to India after their perfect start to the IPL in the UAE.

Punjab will take a 100 per cent record with them after they clinched a fifth successive win last night with a five-wicket success over Royal Challengers Bangalore.

“We will take that from the UAE,” captain Bailey said of the Mohali franchise’s unbeaten record on these shores. “It has been a good start to the tournament and we have a nice breather now before we get back to India, which is going to be very exciting.

“It goes without saying we are happy with five wins. It is a nice chance for us to take stock of how we have been playing, the manner in which we have been playing, which I think has been really impressive.”

Chris Gayle made his long awaited return to the IPL following a back strain and he appeared keen to make up for lost time for Bangalore.

In fact, the West Indian opener seemed intent on playing his own game of One1.

By the end of the first over of the match he had 20, via two sixes and two fours, and had nearly been out a variety of times, too.

He fell off the first ball of the next over to Sandeep Sharma, the uncapped and unheralded Kings XI swing bowler.

As the vaunted RCB batting line up crumbled thereafter to 124 for eight off their 20 overs, Sharma finished with three for 15 and a second consecutive man-of-the-match award.

“It was a big moment,” Sandeep said of his dismissal of Gayle. “I’ve seen him hitting bowlers around the ground a lot of times, so it was an awesome feeling.”

Virender Sehwag, the opening batsman who Bailey called “a legend of the game”, marshaled Kings XI’s chase of the modest target with an innings of 32.

Yuzvendra Chahal, the RCB leg-spinner, said his side can expect to improve on their UAE form of two wins from five games when they get back to India.

“There are still nine matches to go and we can bounce back,” Chahal said.

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