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IPL 2021: Gayle takes pressure off me at the top, says KL Rahul

Punjab Kings skipper KL Rahul lavished praise on star batsman Chris Gayle and said the West Indies cricketer keeps getting better and better with the age.
IPL 2021: Gayle takes pressure off me at the top, says KL Rahul

Punjab Kings skipper KL Rahul lavished praise on star batsman Chris Gayle and said the West Indies cricketer keeps getting better and better with the age.

Gayle and Rahul fired with the bat before Harpreet Brar and Ravi Bishnoi picked three and two wickets each to help Punjab Kings register a thumping 34-run win over RCB.

Punjab Kings didn't got off to good start but things soon fell into place as Gayle, who came into bat at number three and hammered five fours in the sixth over to take his side to 49-1 at the end of the powerplay.

"There is a lot written about Gayle, about his age and whether he should be playing. But I know as a captain, just his impact he has when he walks out is huge," Rahul told host broadcaster Star Sports after the match.

"I have played with him for 7-8 years and he keeps getting better and better. He is batting at three, something he hasn't done ever in his career, but he'll do that for the team. That's the kind of man Chris is. He takes the pressure off me at the top," he added.

Gayle and Rahul had steered Punjab Kings to 179/5. In reply, RCB was only able to score 145/8, thanks to a brilliant bowling performance from Harpreet Brar and Ravi Bishnoi.

Harpreet picked three key wickets for Punjab Kings as he dismissed Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, and AB de Villiers after shining with the bat. The side collapsed from 62/1 to 69/4 and lost a flurry of wickets at the back end of their innings.

"We were preparing Brar. On a pitch like this, we felt like, we needed a finger spinner who could hit hard lengths. He did exactly that and batted really well in the end as well," said Rahul.

"I am young myself, but I have been trying to speak to the boys and pass on whatever experience I have of IPL and international cricket. They are blessed with enormous talent and we have to prepare them for the situations and the pressures they'd face in the middle as the captain and the support staff. Really makes me and the support staff very happy," he added.

Rahul scored a well-made 91 off 57 balls. The Punjab Kings skipper has not been dismissed in his last three innings against RCB.

"There is nothing in particular against RCB, but all matches against them have been must-win games for us because of when they come in the tournament," said Rahul.

"It was important for me to lead from the front and that's what I try to do every game. When I have the opportunity to put pressure on bowlers and set targets, I try to do it to the best of my ability. It came off well today," he added.

With this win on Friday, Punjab Kings climbed to the fifth spot in the points table. The side will next lock horns with Delhi Capitals on Sunday.

( With inputs from ANI )

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