There was nothing similar between Shikhar Dhawan and Chris Gayle or their innings — except the impact they had for their respective teams.
While Gayle’s runfest had little support from the other end, Dhawan found the perfect foil in Delhi Capitals captain Shreyas Iyer to finish the task as the host broke its losing streak at home with a five-wicket win against Kings XI Punjab on Saturday.
It also avenged the embarrassing defeat away to KXIP despite a mini-collapse towards the end, after Capitals was in firm control of the chase. The host overhauled a tricky 164-run target to stay third on the table.
If Gayle practised power-hitting, Dhawan was all about timing and placement. The latter found the gaps or nudged the ball just over the fielders to score seven fours in an elegant innings . He stitched a match-winning 92-run partnership with captain Shreyas Iyer — who got his own half-century — to pace the innings perfectly.
Just when it looked like the two would see Delhi home, Dhawan top-edged Hardus Viljoen to mid-wicket but Shreyas was determined. The 18th over by Viljoen proved crucial, with Colin Ingram smacking three fours to take Capitals into the home stretch.
Earlier, Chris Gayle seemed to be playing a different game to what the rest of the Kings side was and his dismissal proved the turning point for the side that, till then, looked set to cross the 180-run mark. A moment of brilliance at the boundary from Ingram, who relayed ball for Axar to complete the catch, sent Gayle back to the pavilion.
A lot depended on the kind of start he and K.L. Rahul gave. While the latter was stumped going for one big hit too many in the second over itself, Gayle nicely set himself up to smash around. His 37-ball 69 was vintage — 54 of them coming in fours and sixes.
Shreyas admitted his team had learnt from its mistakes and rectified them, like bringing back Sandeep Lamichhane into the side. The young spinner was the most successful bowler for the host on the night with three crucial wickets, including that of Gayle.
Kings still managed an above-par total but with dew and Dhawan in form, it wasn’t enough.