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When Chris Gayle is in full flow, he can smash any attack to smithereens. Pune Warriors India seamers found that out in sixth edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) when runs flowed from Gayle’s bat like a river. Bharath Ramaraj looks back at the thrill-a-minute innings by Gayle.
When the giant of a man from Jamaica, Chris Gayle, took strike against Pune Warriors India (PWI) at Chinnaswamy stadium in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013, one could have scarcely envisaged the merciless destruction that was about to take place. Yes, the Jamaican marauder is known for his bludgeoning power, but his wondrously entertaining innings against PWI was more like a once in a generation knock. Those towering sixes from that kept soaring high and above, gave the crowd their money’s worth.
Intriguingly, Gayle started his innings in a rather calm and placid fashion. The redoubtable swing bowler, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the only one to escape punishment from Gayle’s sledgehammer blows kept him on a tight leash during the first over of the game. Gayle opened up his shoulders in the second over of the match, while facing Ishwar Pandey. The Madhya Pradesh seamer started his spell with a poor delivery that was full and wide. Gayle swatted it away through the covers for his first boundary. Gayle then proceeded to thwack Pandey for 20 runs in a single over. Even a brief spell of rain couldn’t stop Gayle from making mincemeat of Pandey’s bowling.
Gayle’s next target was the Australian all-rounder, Mitchell Marsh. During the fifth over of the game, he ripped apart Marsh’s bowling by landing hefty blows. The highlight of the 28-run over was the way he lofted a length delivery from Marsh over long-on region for a six. It didn’t seem like he had to find the middle of his bat to clamber Marsh for sixes. He also reached his fifty in that over off just 17 balls.
Gayle continued on his merry way by taking a heavy toll of spinners Ali Murtaza and skipper Aaron Finch. The majestic six he essayed off Finch that cleared the long on region and landed on the roof was a spellbinding shot to say the least. To stay in the crease and generate that kind of power is never easy. Such was Gayle’s power-hitting that no one noticed Tillakaratne Dilshan, his partner at the other end, struggling to find his form.
When England all-rounder Luke Wright tried a slower one and even that was deposited deep into the stands, it was clear that PWI had no answer to stop the Gayle-storm. It has to be remembered the shot that Gayle played off Wright was nothing more than a miss-hit. Gayle soon reached his hundred with yet another six off pacer Ashok Dinda. His 30-ball hundred was the fastest ever century in the history of Indian Premier League (IPL), breaking the previous record held by Yusuf Pathan. To make it even better, he broke Andrew Symonds‘ record for the fastest ever hundred in the history of T20s. Gayle celebrated the sizzling hundred in his true style by going down on his knees and acknowledging the spectators.
When spinner Murtaza came back into the attack, there was more carnage. Murtaza bowled the first delivery of his new spell with a flatter trajectory, only for it to clear the boundary at the speed of lightning from Gayle’s bazooka bat. When he gave it a bit of air, Gayle slogged it over long-on region with another scorching six, clearing the roof! Murtaza, after conceding 27 runs in a single over must have been in state of complete daze.
Once captain Virat Kohli was run out, AB de Villiers joined Gayle to pummel the hapless conquistadors from PWI even more. Both stitched a quickfire partnership and curiously enough, de Villiers was the dominant partner of the two by compiling 31 runs of just 12 balls. RCB ended with a monstrous 263 runs for the loss of five wickets in their allotted 20 overs. Gayle remained not out on a heart-stirring knock of 175.
Gayle’s knock was the highest individual score in the history of IPL. The 17 sixes he thwacked were the most hit in the history of T20s, he also amassed the fastest 50 and 150 in the history of IPL. One of those sixes went as far as 119 metres. It was the longest six hit of IPL 6.
The shell-shocked PWI batsmen just couldn’t get going even on a batting paradise. The Australian all-rounder Steven Smith played a few eye-catching shots. PWI could only make 133 runs for the loss of nine wickets in their 20 overs. The sole PWI player who could come out of the carnage with his head held high would have been Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He bowled his four overs and gave away only 23 runs.
Gayle and his teammates celebrated like there was no tomorrow. In fact, Gayle celebrated his monumental innings by cutting a cake at the team hotel.
Royal Challengers Bangalore 263 for 5 in 20 overs (Chris Gayle 175*, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Ashok Dinda 2 for 48) beat Pune Warriors India 133 for 9 in 20 overs (Steven Smith 41, Mitchell Marsh 24; Chris Gayle 2 for 5, Ravi Rampaul 2 for 21) by 130 runs.
(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)
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