New Delhi: May 17, 2012
Chris Gayle smashed a rollicking unbeaten 128, his first century of the season, to propel Royal Challengers Bangalore to a mammoth 215 for one against Delhi Daredevils in their must-win Indian Premier League clash on Thursday.
Gayle took some time to settle after being invited to bat by Mahela Jayawardene, who led Delhi in place of an indisposed Virender Sehwag, and then hit hapless Delhi bowlers at will all around the Feroze Shah Kotla ground.
Initially, he took 17 balls for his first 10 runs and then scored the next 90 in just 35 balls as he hit 13 sixes and seven fours in his whirlwind 62-ball unbeaten knock.
Together with his skipper Virat Kohli (73 not out), he rattled up a 204-run stand, highest for any wicket in the league this season. Kohli too looked in much better touch today as he scored freely and never looked uncomfortable.
The youngster faced 53 balls and hit 10 boundaries, including one six.
There was no escape from the Gayle 'storm' and Delhi sorely missed Morne Morkel, who was rested today as the hosts have already secured a berth in the play-offs.
Jayawardene did everything to stop a marauding Gayle but the West Indian was unstoppable as neither the spinners nor the pacers had an answer to the power-hitting of the left-hander.
At the start, Delhi pacers did a good job with Umesh Yadav bowling a fiery maiden over to Gayle and Varun Aaron dismissing Tillakaratne Dilshan (10) with his second ball.
Dilshan looked in good touch as he had driven Irfan Pathan for two exquisite straight drives in the opening over but a leading edge that flew to Pathan at mid-on brought about his end.
Kohli hit four elegant boundaries, two each off Yadav and Aaron immediately after arriving at the crease.
Delhi though did extremely well to contain Gayle till then. The explosive Caribbean faced 17 balls till the power-play and scored only 10 runs.
Gayle's first six came off fellow Jamaican Andre Russell, who played in place of rested Morne Morkel, in the eighth over and second off Y Venugopal Rao in the 10th over as RCB reached 79 for one at half-way mark.
The stage was set for a big score and soon Gayle was his usual attacking self. He hit left-arm spinner Pawan Negi for a 106-meter long six and then completed his fifty with a long-off boundary off Russell.
All hell broke loose after that as Gayle hit Pathan and Negi for three sixes each and RCB went on to score 78 runs in the last five overs.
Brief Scores: RCB 215 for 1 in 20 overs (Chris Gayle 128*, Virat Kohli 73*; Varun Aaron 1 for 38) vs DD