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Rahul, Karun feed off Gayle’s energy: Viv Richards

CricketRahul, Karun feed off Gayle's energy: Viv Richards

NEW DELHI: It is no secret that in the 2018 IPL, Chris Gayle has rediscovered his touch that once made him a force to reckon with in the shortest forma. In four matches, Gayle has 252 runs with 23 sixes, and more importantly, his form has done wonders for Kings XI Punjab, placed fourth on the leaderboard with 10 points from seven matches.Gayle-Rahul

It is the same dominance of Gayle, that is rubbing off on teammates KL Rahul and Karun Nair, feels West Indies great Viv Richards, who in his column for TOI on Friday, wrote how the Jamaican’s prolific scores is the reason behind the likes of Rahul and Nair getting among the runs.

“Punjab has been part of the IPL for all eleven seasons and this has been one of their best outings until now. Currently third on the table, the boys are bound to be proudof themselves. Sehwag made the right decisions by revamping the squad, choosing the apt players they wanted during the auction. For a side that has seemed to struggle in the past, Ashwin and his boys have found their groove pretty early this season,” Richards wrote.
Rahul, in seven matches, has 268 runs under his belt at an average of 38.32 and strike rate of over 170. More importantly, the starts he and Gayle have provided KXIP is one of the key elements behind the franchise’s fine run in this edition. Like Rahul, his Karnataka teammate Nair too has been crucial for KXIP in the middle order. From seven games, Nair has 186 runs @ 31 and his 50 against the Delhi Daredevils was detrimental in KXIP winning the match by six wickets. Since, Nair has contributes scores of 29, 29, 31, 34 and 13.
“Kings XI never held back and have brought something new to the pitch each game under the able captaincy of Ashwin; whether it’s a Gayle storm or KL Rahul’s smart innings or young Ankit Rajpoot’s five-for. The boys have given their hundred percent on the field. Gayle’s power-show in this IPL has been satisfying to watch, especially after him being left unsold twice in the auction, which has inspired him to ignite the fire inside. Players like Karun Nair and KL Rahul seem to derive that energy from the Jamaican. It will be fabulous to see Punjab make it all the way to the top, post their struggles over these past few seasons,” added Richards.

KXIP have had a long break of six days, one that saw Gayle taking a break and head to Goa and Kerala for a small vacation with family. However, with Gayle back training and his franchise not reading much into the defeat against Sunrisers Hyderabad last Friday, KXIP turn their attention towards a wounded Mumbai Indians whom they face tonight. The three-time IPL winners are one loss Away from exiting the tournament, and as of now, things look pretty bleak for Rohit Sharma and his men.
“Mumbai, on the other hand, have always succeeded towards the second half of the IPL, but this year hasn’t been easy for them. They just don’t seem to have found their rhythm yet. No denying that there have been spectacular moments of cricket they have played with their fielding being extraordinary at times, still, they seem to miss the magical winning touch. With a top squad on paper, Mumbai can look at the positives from the previous seasons and find the winning formula to live up to the expectations of their fans,” pointed out Richards.

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