Chris Gayle made an immediate mark on the Ram Slam T20 competition as he led the Highveld Lions to victory over the Dolphins in the final game of Sunday’s triple-header in Johannesburg. Gayle broke the Sunfoil Dolphins’ key partnership in taking 4/36 as the visitors were limited to 172/nine, then hit 56 from 38 deliveries as the Lions reached their target with six wickets and seven balls in hand. Although Gayle’s innings was sedate by his standards, and included just two sixes, it was an intelligent one as he stood firm in the face of an early collapse.
The bizhub Highveld Lions were reduced to 36/2 in the fourth over of their chase, but Gayle’s sturdiness allowed Jean Symes to find his feet and he went on to finish on 58 not out. Thami Tsolekile also made a handy contribution, scoring a breezy 23 not out from 12 deliveries to finish the game after Gayle had fallen to the spin of Prenelan Subrayen. The Dolphins innings was a fairly disjointed affair that owed plenty to the 71-run stand for the third wicket between Cody Chetty (68) and Vaughn Van Jaarsveld (40).
Gayle was responsible for dismissing both batsmen, as well as the two that followed them, as he varied his pace cleverly. Subrayen (26) was the only other Dolphins batsman to hit double figures as wickets tumbled in the second half of the innings and momentum proved hard to come by. That ultimately cost them, as they fell 10 to 20 runs short of a truly competitive total.
Gayle was named Ram Deliverer of the Day, while Chetty picked up the Ram Slammer prize.