West Indies batsman Gayle stays sharp with unbeaten 99 in IPL

REUTERS: West Indies batsman Chris Gayle warmed up for the World Cup with an unbeaten 99 although he could not prevent his Kings XI Punjab team from losing by eight wickets to Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League on Saturday.

The powerful left-hander, who fell short of what would have been his seventh IPL century, smashed 10 fours and five sixes in a 64-ball knock against his former side to help Kings XI reach a competitive 173 for four in their 20 overs.

In response, India skipper Virat Kohli scored 67 while South African batsman AB de Villiers remained unbeaten on 59 as Royal Challengers completed the win in the final over for their first victory of the season.

Gayle, who returned to the West Indies ODI side for the recent series against England, is set to retire from one-day international cricket after taking part in the World Cup in England and Wales starting on May 30.

Twice winners West Indies, who appointed Floyd Reifer as their new interim head coach and also overhauled their selection panel on Thursday, open their World Cup campaign against Pakistan in Nottingham on May 31.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)