India and Punjab Kings batsman KL Rahul has been diagnosed with acute appendicitis which requires him to undergo surgery.

The 29-year-old opener was admitted to hospital on Saturday after suffering from discomfort in his abdomen.

No timeframe has been placed on his recovery but he will be absent from Punjab Kings' Indian Premier League fixture against Delhi Capitals in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

A statement from Punjab Kings said: "KL Rahul complained of severe abdomen pain and, after not responding to medication, he was taken for further tests which revealed that he was diagnosed with acute appendicitis.

"It will be resolved surgically and for safety measures he has been transferred to the hospital."

Rahul is the top runscorer in the 2021 IPL with 331 runs in seven matches at an average of 66.20 and a strike rate of 136.21.

He has the best all-time batting average in IPL history with 2,978 runs in 88 matches at 46.53 and a strike rate of 135.85.

The right-hand batsman has played 36 Tests, 38 ODIs and 49 T20 internationals for India.

 

KL Rahul scored another magnificent half-century and Harpreet Brar tormented Royal Challengers Bangalore in a 34-run Indian Premier League win for Punjab Kings.

Captain Rahul replaced Shikhar Dhawan as the leading run-scorer in the tournament with a scintillating 91 off 57 balls, getting Kings up to 179-5 after Virat Kohli put them in.

Chris Gayle also smashed a rapid 46 from 24 balls before Rahul and Harpreet provided a late flurry at Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday.

RCB fell well short in reply with the Kings attack giving nothing away, Kohli top scoring with 35 as they could only muster 145-8 in Ahmedabad.

They never got going in the run chase and lost six wickets for 34 runs, with spinner Harpreet sparking the collapse by bowling Kohli before cleaning up Glenn Maxwell for a golden duck off the next ball in a double-wicket maiden.

Harpreet claimed outstanding figures of 3-19, while fellow tweaker Ravi Bishnoi finished with a brilliant 2-17 in a resounding victory.

Harshal Patel (31) and Kyle Jamieson (16 not out) combined for an eighth-wicket stand of 48, but the damage had been done as Kings moved up to fifth, consigning third-placed RCB to only a second defeat.

 

RCB have no answer to Rahul

Punjab skipper Rahul must wish he could play against RCB more often, as they have not managed to get him out since 2019.

The India batsman was imperious once again, bringing up his fourth half-century of the tournament off 35 balls after Gayle had taken 20 off a Jamieson over and struck Yuzvendra Chahal for two sixes in the next before gloving a Daniel Sams delivery behind.

Harshal, the leading wicket-taker in the tournament, went for 53 runs off his four wicket-less overs - the last of the innings costing 22 as Rahul and Harpreet (25 not out from 17) cut loose.

 

Harp calls the tune

Riley Meredith struck an early blow by removing Devdutt Padikkal's off stump before the Kings spinners came to the fore.

RCB were struggling on 36-1 at the end of the powerplay and were well behind the run rate when Kohli came down the track to Harpreet but lost his off stump.

Harpreet was on a hat-trick after bamboozling Maxwell with a peach of a delivery that clicked his off stump. It was pretty much game over when the same bowler had AB de Villiers caught at extra cover by Rahul, with Rajat Patidar soon following for 31.

Kolkata Knight Riders ended their four-match IPL slump with a comfortable five-wicket victory over Punjab Kings in Ahmedabad.

KKR had lost each game since winning their tournament opener but were quickly on top on Monday, given a straightforward chase - led by captain Eoin Morgan (47 not out) and Rahul Tripathi (41) - after limiting the Kings to 123-9.

That total could easily have been far lower as Punjab failed to fire, with Mayank Agarwal their top scorer on an underwhelming 31 off 34.

By the time he departed to Sunil Narine in the 12th over, the Kings had just 60 runs on the board and had already lost three prior wickets - including Chris Gayle, who had previously averaged 47 against the Knight Riders but went for a duck.

Wickets continued to fall apace, but Chris Jordan ensured his side made three figures and then kept going, 30 off 18 keeping Punjab's slim hopes alive.

Those hopes grew when Kolkata made a similarly shaky start, losing three wickets in the first three overs.

But Tripathi survived and a partnership of 66 with Morgan set the stage for a stress-free finale, even with Andre Russell run out for 10.

A 13-run 16th over, including back-to-back Morgan boundaries, brought the finish line into view, with Dinesh Karthik's four then completing the job at 126-5 with 20 balls to spare.

Narine celebrations soon subside

The Knight Riders had not previously had much to savour this season, but Sunil Narine always enjoys himself against the Kings and figures of 2-22 took him to 30 Punjab wickets, the most of any bowler in the IPL.

His quota was finished by the time Jordan threatened a fightback, though, and then the West Indies all-rounder was unable to contribute with the bat as Ravi Bishnoi's outstanding diving catch ended his innings after four balls and no runs.

Morgan makes sure of no momentum swing

This has been a tough tournament for the Knight Riders and they might have feared another difficult outing against the Kings, who had been eight-wicket victors in their previous meeting in October.

But skipper Morgan was a typically steady presence throughout the chase before accelerating late on to pass 7,000 Twenty20 runs and ensure Kolkata retain the upper hand against a side they have now beaten in 13 of their past 16 outings.

 West Indies Indies T20 star, Chris Gayle, insists he is feeling fit and at the top of his game after a decisive performance for Punjab Kings XI, in a win against defending champions Mumbai Indians, in the Indian Premier Leauge (IPL) on Friday.

Gayle made a steady 43 from 35 deliveries, and along with KL Rahul, who added 60 from 52, anchored Kings XI to an 8-wicket win. 

The batsman’s innings was, however, uncharacteristically devoid of massive slogs over the boundary as he hit only two sixes.  The 41-year-old did gather quite a few runs darting for quick singles, which has not been a part of his game in recent years.

The veteran batsman had come under criticism in recent days following a string of low scores and a 1-3 start for Punjab.  Gayle, however, insists he is feeling in excellent shape and was happy for the result.

"I am feeling very good, a bit relieved. We wanted this win badly, playing against the defending champions was always going to be tough. They played four games, to actually get this win is fantastic for the team and the Universe Boss as well.

“I was looking pretty good, running between the wickets, I am feeling fit and good about myself. I am enjoying it, I am looking after my body, getting a lot of massages so I can move freely, humidity here in Chennai also kind of lets the blood flow so I am on top of my game," Gayle told the official IPL website.

Jonny Bairstow ensured Sunrisers Hyderabad ended their winless start to the Indian Premier League with a thumping nine-wicket victory over Punjab Kings.

Punjab always looked likely to fall to a third straight defeat after they could only post 120 all out at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium on Wednesday.

After losing skipper KL Rahul for just four, their innings looked doomed when Mayank Agarwal (22) departed and Nicholas Pooran (0) in consecutive balls, with Chris Gayle (15) also dismissed before the halfway point.

Pooran was run out without facing a delivery after being promoted up to number four in the order.

Shahrukh Khan added 22 and scored the only two maximums of a disappointing Kings innings, as Khaleel Ahmed led the Sunrisers with figures of 3-21 from his four overs.

Openers Bairstow and David Warner scored 73 from the first 10 overs to ensure a maiden win of 2021 never looked in doubt for Sunrisers.

The Australia batsman fell for a run-a-ball 37 after Agarwal held on to a catch off the bowling of Fabian Allen (1-22).

But Bairstow (63 not out) remained for the duration of a comfortable run chase after being joined by Kane Williamson (16no).

SUNRISERS UP AND RUNNING

Sunrisers had lost their first three matches by just 10, six and 13 runs respectively, so they have not been far away despite their winless start.

Having also lost the last game they played in 2020, defeat in this game would have equalled their longest ever IPL losing run of five.

But having made the play-offs in each of the last five years, they will hope this much-needed victory kickstarts their season to ensure that impressive streak can continue.

BAIRSTOW FORM CONTINUES

It has been a good start to the competition for England batsman Bairstow, whose unbeaten 56-ball innings here contained six boundaries and included three maximums.

After coming into the match with scores of 55, 12 and 43 to his name, Bairstow now averages 57.66 and will be key to the Sunrisers' hopes of contending.

Shikhar Dhawan smashed 92 to lead Delhi Capitals to a six-wicket win over Punjab Kings in a high-scoring Indian Premier League encounter.

Half-centuries from KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal helped Punjab post 195-4 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai after being put into bat by Capitals skipper Rishabh Pant.

However, Delhi – who came into the contest having alternated between defeat and victory across their previous seven IPL games – bounced back from a three-wicket loss to Rajasthan Royals last time out in stunning fashion.

Dhawan dominated the Kings attack in a well-paced chase, following up his 85 in his side's opener against Chennai Super Kings with a marvellous knock that included 13 fours and two sixes.

Opening partner Prithvi Shaw contributed 32 at the top of the Capitals' order while Marcus Stoinis finished the job in a hurry, the all-rounder making 27 not out from just 13 balls.

Punjab's total had been built on the solid foundation provided by openers Rahul and Agarwal as they shared a 122-run stand, the latter the more aggressive of the pair as his score of 69 came from 36 deliveries.

West Indian duo Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran made just 11 and nine respectively as the innings briefly stuttered, but late cameos from Deepak Hooda – who hit two sixes to make 22 not out from 13 deliveries – and Shahrukh Khan (15 off five balls) lifted the Kings.

Delhi had lost five of the past seven meetings between the franchises but Dhawan made sure they prevailed this time, in the process becoming the competition's leading run-scorer in 2021.

 

Kings run into a spot of trouble

Rahul hit seven fours and two sixes while at the crease, but his 61 runs came from 51 deliveries at a strike-rate of 119.60.

Punjab Kings would have had designs on making in excess of 200 following the start they were given by their openers, but an inability to get after Ravichandran Ashwin – his four overs of spin went for just 28 runs – saw them come up just short.

Capitals gain from in-form opener

Dhawan received the orange cap after the game as he moved above Glenn Maxwell of Royal Challengers Bangalore in the run-scoring table. The left-hander is scoring at 163.15 runs per 100 deliveries in the 2021 edition of the Twenty20 tournament, despite having only hit four sixes.

Bowled within sight of a century as he attempted to sweep Australian seamer Jhye Richardson, Dhawan then watched on as Stoinis rushed his team home with 10 balls to spare.

Deepak Chahar produced career-best Indian Premier League figures to inspire Chennai Super Kings to a dominant victory over Punjab Kings.

Making his 50th appearance in the competition, Chahar helped ensure Punjab's innings never got going as they were restricted to 106-8.

He finished with 4-13 from four overs, including one maiden, Punjab never getting to grips with a challenging surface in Mumbai.

Faf du Plessis (36 not out) and Moeen Ali (46) combined for 66 to help CSK ease to their target with 26 balls to spare, winning by six wickets.

Mayank Agarwal went for a two-ball duck to Chahar in the opening over, misjudging a wondrous delivery that pinged the top off-stump.

A direct hit from Ravindra Jadeja saw KL Rahul run out before the West Indian pair of Chris Gayle (10) and Nicholas Pooran (0) each fell to Chahar before the end of the powerplay.

Deepak Hooda tamely chipped to mid-off for Chahar's fourth wicket, leaving Punjab on 26-5 in the seventh over.

Shahrukh Khan's 36-ball 47, which included two sixes, at least made sure Punjab had something to defend, but a lack of support from the lower order meant the target was always one well within CSK's grasp.

Moeen and Du Plessis extinguished any hopes of Punjab claiming an unlikely win, their second-wicket stand allowing the Super Kings to coast to victory despite a 15th-over blitz from Mohammed Shami that saw Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu dismissed.

Chahar makes mark on landmark appearance

Chahar let out a huge roar when he castled Agarwal and he had every right to do so after producing a delivery that nipped away from middle stump to deceive the opener.

The subsequent dismissals owed more to a fine catch from Jadeja to get rid of Gayle and batting errors from Pooran and Hooda, but nothing should be taken away from Chahar after he tilted the game firmly in CSK's favour.

Moeen gets things moving

Moeen and Du Plessis showed Punjab how to bat on the surface with an excellent partnership, the England all-rounder's 46 coming off 31 deliveries, his strike rate of 148.38 the best in the contest.

He recorded seven fours and one maximum, with Du Plessis' sole six coming off a scoop shot in the fourth over. The South African was still in at the end when Sam Curran wrapped things up after a brief wobble.

The Indian Premier League is back on home soil as the 14th season of the Twenty20 tournament begins on Friday.

Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 edition was not only delayed until late in the year but also transported away from India, with the United Arab Emirates hosting proceedings.

There was still one constant, however. Mumbai Indians once again came out on top, making it three titles in four years. The reigning champions will take some stopping again this time around, but their rivals will hope some fresh faces can help a different name secure the trophy.

Ahead of a new campaign, Stats Perform News makes use of Opta data to pick out six intriguing players who will hope to make a difference for their franchises in the coming weeks, as well as capitalise on the opportunity to impress with a Twenty20 World Cup to come in India later in 2021.


Kyle Jamieson (Royal Challengers Bangalore)

Boom or bust? Bangalore paid a premium in a three-way bidding war to get Jamieson, who became the second-most expensive player purchased at this year's auction, eventually going for 15 crores (around $2million).

The Royal Challengers went all in betting on the potential of a player who, while still in the early stages of his international career, has impressed in all formats for New Zealand. He had played just four T20 games for the Black Caps at the time – and has since endured a tough series against Australia on home soil, during which there was just one wicket at an average of 175.

Jamieson has been one of the top performers for his country in Tests, picking up 36 wickets at a staggering average of 13.27 since his debut against India last year. There have been eye-catching performances at domestic level in T20 outings – he claimed figures of 6-7 for Canterbury.

The pressure will be on to live up to the hefty fee in his first taste of the IPL, while it should help his cause that he can contribute with the bat down the order, too.

Dawid Malan (Punjab Kings)

The numbers do not lie – Malan averages 50.15 in T20 action for England, scoring his runs at a strike-rate of 144.31 runs per 100 balls. His performances have him perched at the top of the ICC batsman rankings, comfortably clear of nearest rival Aaron Finch at the summit.

And yet, for all that the left-hander has achieved, there still remains the odd doubter over his fit in England's XI, particularly as he has often built momentum through an innings, rather than putting the pedal to the floor immediately like so many of his international team-mates.

Still, in the recent series against India, Malan was the third-highest scorer with 148 runs. That tally included 68 in the decider when he showed how he is more than capable of going on the attack from the off.

Despite the impressive numbers, Punjab Kings had no competition to secure Malan's services at the auction. He now joins a franchise who has to deal with a logjam when it comes to top-order batsmen, considering the presence of captain KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal and Chris Gayle on the roster. 

Moeen Ali (Chennai Super Kings)

The England all-rounder was one of 10 players released by Royal Challengers Bangalore, having featured in only six games in 2020 as the franchise endured yet another disappointing campaign.

However, considering his ball-striking capabilities and capacity to have an impact with the ball, it was hardly surprising to see him find a new home in the auction. Now he is a member of a Chennai Super Kings franchise that has freshened things up after failing to make the play-offs for the first time in their history.

Moeen managed 309 runs and claimed 10 wickets in 2020, posting an economy rate of 7.1 runs per over, but did RCB get the most out of a player whose career IPL strike-rate sits at 158.5 runs per 100 deliveries? The 33-year-old has excelled up the order in the English domestic T20 competition, capitalising on more regular opportunities with two hundreds and 13 half-centuries.

It was perhaps surprising to see him not used in the recent five-match T20 series by England too, considering his off-spin bowling would have added a different dimension to the attack. In T20I games played in India, Moeen has an economy rate of 7.8 runs per over – that is his best in any country where he has played three or more times.

Rahul Tewatia (Rajasthan Royals)

Tewatia had made 20 IPL appearances combined across the previous five seasons before becoming a regular in 2020 with the Royals, who secured the all-rounder via a trade with the Delhi Capitals.

A left-handed batsman who also bowls leg-spin, the 27-year-old had made his debut with the same team back in 2014, then also spent a season with Kings XI Punjab (now rebranded as Punjab Kings) in 2017. However, Tewatia finally fitted in with Rajasthan last year, including claiming 10 wickets in 14 matches while going at a respectable economy rate of 7.08 runs per over.

It was his batting exploits, however, that raised his profile – and one innings in particular against Kings XI. Having laboured to 17 from 23 deliveries in a run chase, he then proceeded to hit six of the next seven he faced over the boundary. The stunning spell of hitting included five maximums in an over off West Indies paceman Sheldon Cottrell, as he helped his team reach a target of 224. 

While picked in India's T20 squad to play against England, Tewatia did not feature in the series. Still, his ball striking – he scored at a strike-rate of 160.3 against pace in the last IPL, with a boundary strike-rate of 19 per cent – could lead to international opportunities in the future.

Shahrukh Khan (Punjab Kings)

To say the IPL auction was a life-changing moment for Shahrukh is an understatement. The 25-year-old batsman eventually went to the big-spending Punjab Kings – who out-bid Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore – for over 50 times his base price, a hefty sum based on his big-hitting potential.

Shahrukh's domestic Twenty20 record is underwhelming, but teams were interested after his exploits for Tamil Nadu in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, including 40 from just 19 balls in a quarter-final against Himachal Pradesh.

Kings head coach Anil Kumble has been suitably impressed by the new signing during practice sessions ahead of this year's competition, even heaping a little extra pressure on the right-hander's shoulders by saying he sees similarities to Kieron Pollard.

If Shahrukh can translate his domestic results to the IPL stage, it will help balance out a batting line-up that lacked depth, even with KL Rahul finishing as the leading run-scorer in 2020.

Abdul Samad (Sunrisers Hyderabad)

At 19, Samad looks a real prospect in white-ball cricket, having become just the fourth cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir to earn an IPL contract when picked up by the Sunrisers in 2020.

A first IPL experience did not have eye-popping numbers in terms of his overall output, finishing with 111 runs in 12 matches. However, a top score of 33 against the Delhi Capitals showcased his talent, including taking 14 runs off three deliveries from South Africa paceman Anrich Nortje.

The right-hander finished up with a strike rate of 170.76 for the season, aided by a boundary strike-rate of 21.5 per cent. 

Hyderabad have tended to front-load their batting line-up, though the absence of all-rounder Mitchell Marsh – the Australian has pulled out of the 2021 season for personal reasons, with opener Jason Roy signed as a replacement – may benefit Samad, if he is given the chance to continue in a middle-order role.

Chris Morris became the most expensive signing in the history of the Indian Premier League as franchises filled out their rosters during Thursday's auction in Chennai. 

Morris was eventually signed by Rajasthan Royals - who he played for in 2015 - following a bidding war that saw four teams battling it out to secure the services of the South African all-rounder. 

His final price finished up at 16.25crore, which equates to around £1.6million, putting him ahead of Yuvraj Singh (16cr) on the list of biggest auction purchases in the global Twenty20 tournament.

"I'm super-stoked, super-humbled to be joining Rajasthan again," Morris said in a video message posted by his new team on Twitter.

"I had an unbelievably good time, and a good season, one of the better times in my cricket career, with Rajasthan in 2015, so I'm unbelievably happy, unbelievably excited.

"We have a very good squad, so joining up with Rajasthan is a very cool experience."

Royal Challengers Bangalore were big spenders in their bid to secure a maiden title this year, getting New Zealand paceman Kyle Jamieson for 14.25cr (£1.5m) having already signed Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell (14cr - £1.4m) for a fraction less than that earlier in proceedings. 

Jhye Richardson also collected a huge deal, snapped up for the same price as compatriot Maxwell by Punjab Kings, who added another Australian paceman to their roster in Riley Meredith, who has yet to play international cricket in any format. 

Having been released by Rajasthan Royals at the start of this year, Steve Smith is now a member of the Delhi Capitals, along with India fast bowler Umesh Yadav and Englishman Sam Billings. 

Moeen Ali saw a considerable rise from his base price, the England all-rounder eventually going for a final sum of £700,000 to Chennai Super Kings. 

While a premium was paid for pace bowling during the auction, the market was a little less frantic for batsmen. 

Dawid Malan – who sits top of the International Cricket Council's batting rankings in the shortest format – will play for Punjab Kings, but English openers Alex Hales and Jason Roy both went unsold. 

Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan is heading back to the Kolkata Knight Riders for 3.2crore (£315,000), while Krishnappa Gowtham went for 9.25crore (£900,000) to the Super Kings, making him the most expensive uncapped India player ever.

As for Mumbai Indians, the main additions by the two-time defending champions came to their bowling attack as they added Adam Milne, Nathan Coulter-Nile and leg-spinner Piyush Chawla. 

The 14th edition of the IPL is scheduled to begin during April and run into May. Last year's delayed tournament was staged in the United Arab Emirates due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Indian Premier League (IPL) club Kings XI Punjab are expected to predictably retain West Indian star batsman Chris Gayle but will release his compatriot Sheldon Cottrell ahead of the new season.

The 31-year-old pace bowler was bought for a sizeable INR 8.5 crore ($US1,156,239) during the IPL 2020 auction but failed to justify the price tag.  In six matches, Cottrell bowled 20 overs, claiming 6 wickets for 176 runs at an expensive economy rate of 8.80.  Unfortunately, perhaps the player's biggest moment came after being on the wrong side of thrashing from Rajasthan Royals Rahul Tewatia, who smashed 5 sixes off one of his overs during a record run chase.

Gayle, on the other hand, was sensational.  Despite starting the season on the sidelines, the big left-hander became the driving force behind the team's push for a playoff spot, although it ended with the team narrowly missing out on 6th spot.  The West Indian had been left on the bench for the first seven games of the season.  He was not picked for the first five, and food poisoning ruled him out for the next two.  He ended with 288 runs at an average of 44.14 and a high score of 99.

India batsman Karun Nair is also expected to be released but the team remains undecided on Australian Glenn Maxwell, who had a mediocre IPL season but had a splendid series against India.

  

Kings XI Punjab co-owner, Ness Wadia, has made it clear that he believes West Indies star batsman Chris Gayle should start from ball one next season, as analysis surrounding the team’s unsuccessful campaign continues to unfold.

Kings XI narrowly missed out on securing an Indian Premier League (IPL) playoff spot after finishing 6th in the overall standings.  The team, however, got plenty of plaudits for an improbable run, which saw it win five games in a row after getting off to a 1-6 start.

Kings XI’s rapid ascent from the bottom of the table was fueled by the re-introduction of Gayle into the line-up.  The West Indian had been left on the bench for the first seven games of the season.  He was not picked for the first five, with a bout of food poisoning ruling him out for the next two.  Gayle fired immediately once he was inserted into the line-up, ending with 288 runs at an average of 44.14 and a high score of 99.

“The team management did what it thought was best for the team.  It is important to back experienced players and Gayle has demonstrated that he should play every game next season,” Wadia told the Press Trust of India (PTI).

The owner also had high praise for team captain and leading scorer KL Rahul, suggesting that some of Kings XI’s struggles could be based on the fact that it is a newly assembled unit.

“It’s a new captain, new team with lots of fresh faces, sometimes it clicks and sometimes it doesn’t.  The auction is coming up soon and we would be looking to plug gaps in the middle order and our bowling,” Wadia said.

“K L has been with is for three years and there was a reason we went after him so aggressively.  He has proved us right.”

 

 

 

Former India opener turned cricket analyst, Aakash Chopra, believes Kings XI Punjab could greatly improve its fortunes for the next Indian Premier League (IPL) season by resigning Windies T20 talisman Chris Gayle and dropping pace bowler Sheldon Cottrell.

Kings XI finished a disappointing 6th place in the final IPL standings, after missing out on a spot in the playoffs.  A good portion of the team’s season had, however, focused on a five-game winning streak, which had put them in unlikely contention for the final four after a 1-7 start.

The man at the centre of the winning streak, Gayle, had spent the early days of the competition sitting on the bench, while Australian Glenn Maxwell, who had huge expectations placed on him heading into the season, continued to disappoint.

He wasn’t alone, however, as Gayle’s international teammate Cottrell also failed to live up to expectations after commanding a whopping INR 8.5 crore ($US1,156,239) at the auction.  In the end, Cottrell ended the competition with six wickets in six matches at an economy rate of 8.80.  Chopra believes, ahead of the next campaign, several changes should be considered

"Kings XI Punjab have a reasonable need of a mega auction because they need changes. They have to do something for the fast bowling unit because it will not work out with the ones they have," Chopra said in his review of the season.

"They should leave out Sheldon Cottrell, they should leave Hardus Viljoen also if they are not playing him, and they should leave Maxwell as well," Chopra added.

"They can keep Gayle if he wants to play although he is 41-years old. But the IPL is just a few months away and he was not expensive as well. So they can keep him as he is an X-factor and an intimidating factor," Chopra continued.

The pundit, however, believed the team would have to weigh its options more carefully if there is an IPL mega auction next year, in which case retaining Gayle may not be a good idea.

 

Faf du Plessis hit 48 as Kings XI Punjab were denied a place in the Indian Premier League play-offs after a nine-wicket defeat to Chennai Super Kings on Sunday.

Deepak Hooda whacked an unbeaten 62 off 30 balls as Kings XI posted 153-6 with Lungi Ngidi (3-39) doing the damage for the Super Kings with the ball.

South African Du Plessis laid the platform for CSK's response with a 34-ball 48 before Ruturaj Gaikwad's unbeaten half-century got them home.

The Super Kings were unable to qualify for the play-offs but their victory, with seven balls to spare, deprived Kings XI of a chance to make the top four.

CSK skipper MS Dhoni won the toss and asked Kings XI to bat first at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi and rotated his bowlers with good effect.

KL Rahul (29) and Mayank Agarwal (26) made a slow start and the experienced Chris Gayle (12) was unable to get going, trapped lbw by spinner Imran Tahir (1-24).

Hooda boosted the total with a brutal assault on the Kings XI attack late on as he struck four sixes and three fours and scored his first IPL half-century since 2015 with a strike rate of 206.66

The Super Kings reached 82 without loss from 9.5 overs in their reply before Du Plessis misjudged a slower delivery from Chris Jordan and his attempted ramp shot was comfortably caught by Rahul.

Fellow opener Gaikwad took the initiative from Du Plessis as he hit 62 not out from 49 balls and got CSK over the line with Ambati Rayudu who finished on 30.

 

DU PLESSIS SHOWS HIS CLASS

This was the type of chase that required a disciplined approach with wickets in hand and Du Plessis produced a typically consistent knock, just missing out on a fifth half-century in the tournament. The CSK opener showed all his composure and experience as he rotated the strike cleverly, but with a dash of inventiveness as he scooped Jimmy Neesham for six.

GAYLE'S IPL SWANSONG?

At the age of 41, Gayle's knees are starting to creak and the left-hander was unable to muster a boundary in a scratchy 12 off 19 balls for the Kings XI here. Handed the ball to bowl an almost ceremonial last over will raise questions of whether he is set to bow out. The elder statesman of T20 cricket is still a draw, but he is not getting any younger and if this ends up being his IPL swansong, it was a meek way to go.

West Indies and Kings XI Punjab star Chris Gayle has been fined 10 percent of his match fee after breaching the IPL Code of Conduct during Friday’s loss at Rajasthan Royals.

The IPL’s release did not specify the nature of the offense but it in all likelihood it was due to an outburst of anger the player displayed after being dismissed during the match.  Gayle admitted to the Level 1 offence 2.2 of the IPL's Code of Conduct and accepted the sanction.

The release read: "Chris Gayle, the Kings XI Punjab batsman, has been fined 10 percent of his match-fee for breaching the Dream 11 Indian Premier League's (IPL) Code of Conduct during his team's match against Rajasthan Royals at Abu Dhabi."

Gayle smashed a whirlwind 99 from 63 balls, on a historic day that also included the batsman being the first player to get to 1000 T20 sixes.  His crowning moment was somewhat ruined by another West Indian, England bowler Jofra Archer, who dismissed the batsman with the very next ball.

An irate Gayle, who narrowly missed out on scoring a 7th IPL century, swung his bat in frustration before congratulating Archer and leaving the pitch.  He became the only player in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to miss a century by a single run on two occasions.

Rajasthan Royals came through a six-hitting onslaught from Chris Gayle to beat Kings XI Punjab, keeping them firmly in contention for the Indian Premier League play-offs. 

Gayle surpassed 1,000 career maximums in Twenty20 cricket - the first player to reach that number - before being dismissed for 99, bowled by Jofra Archer (2-26).

The left-hander's wonderful 63-ball knock, coupled with a late cameo from fellow West Indian Nicholas Pooran (22), powered Kings XI to 185-4. 

However, the Royals overhauled that total with seven wickets in hand, moving them level with their fourth-placed opponents on 12 points as the round-robin stage draws towards a close. 

Ben Stokes led the way in the chase with a 26-ball 50 at the top of the order, while Sanju Samson made 48 and Rajasthan skipper Steve Smith finished up unbeaten on 31. 

Jos Buttler hurried his team to their target with two late sixes as he made 22 not out from 11 deliveries, the Royals clinching victory thanks to a Chris Jordan wide midway through the 18th over. 

 

GAYLE LAUNCHES INTO ROYALS

There was to be no 23rd T20 century for Gayle, though the 41-year-old still reached a notable milestone during his innings. He boosted his career sixes total with eight more on Friday, including one off Archer in the 20th over that took him to 1,001.

However, the bowler got his revenge with the next ball, aided by a deflection off bat and pad. Gayle threw his bat after falling just short, then shared a handshake with Archer before departing.

ROYALS RUNNING INTO FORM

Having returned figures of 2-32 with the ball, Stokes gave Rajasthan's reply the early impetus it required. His half-century here followed on from an unbeaten 107 against Mumbai Indians last time out.

The England international appears to be coming into form at the perfect time for the Royals, though they still remain outside the top four in the table. They have one game remaining - against fellow play-off hopefuls Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday - and the fight to qualify could well come down to net run-rate.

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