Chris Gayle heroics in vain as Rajasthan Royals beat Kings XI Punjab to keep IPL hopes alive

Chris Gayle scored 99 as Kings XI Punjab were beaten by Rajasthan Royals (Picture: Getty)

Chris Gayle scored 99 but could not prevent Kings XI Punjab from suffering a seven-wicket defeat to Rajasthan Royals at the Indian Premier League.

West Indies hero Gayle smashed 14 boundaries – including the 1,000th six of his T20 career – as Kings XI posted 185-4 in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

The 41-year-old, who was left out by Kings XI at the start of the tournament, looked set to score his 25th T20 century but was bowled by England star Jofra Archer on 99.

In reply, Ben Stokes’ fifty and a quickfire 48 from Sanjuy Samson helped Rajasthan chase down the total with 14 balls to spare and keep their IPL hopes alive.

Rajasthan’s victory seem them join Kings XI Punjab on 12 points with one group game remaining. Mumbai Indians are the only team so far to have guaranteed their place in the play-offs.

Steve Smith, captain of the Rajasthan Royals, said: ‘This season has ebbed and flowed for us. We still need things to go our way to get into the play-offs.

‘Having said that, if it happens, we are playing very good cricket.

‘Ben [Stokes] is a class player, he plays proper shots, hits balls in weird areas, and did a job with the ball too. He’s one of the best in the world.’

Losing captain KL Rahul added: ‘It was a horrible toss to lose with the amount of dew that came later on. It got quite very easy to bat on.

‘It has been the kind of season where nothing has come easy. We have had to work hard for every point. It’s no surprise that it has come down to the last game.’

Six teams are battling it out for the final three play-off places (Picture: IPL)

Gayle, meanwhile, said: ‘It was a good knock and I thought 180 was a good total. The wicket was good.

‘Getting out on 99 is unfortunate, but I have been there and done it before. It was a good ball. This happens.

‘I’m still enjoying being out there and having fun. I’m hitting it well and I have to give thanks for that.’

Rajasthan Royals finish their IPL group stage campaign on Sunday against Kolkata Knight Riders, while Kings XI Punjab face bottom-placed Chennai Super Kings.

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