The M Chinnaswamy Stadium was transformed into a slaughterhouse on Tuesday evening as Chris Gayle hit the fastest century of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to lead Royal Challengers Bangalore to the highest ever score recorded at the tournament against a miserable Pune Warriors.
Gayle had crawled his way to 49 off 44 balls in RCB’s chase of 117 against Rajasthan Royals in the last game, and perhaps wanted to make up for it as he slayed the Pune bowlers on his way to an unbeaten 175 off just 66 deliveries, including 13 fours and a mind-boggling 17 sixes.
Bangalore reached 263 for five in their 20 overs, which is the highest ever score recorded in the IPL. Pune, of course, didn’t know what what the bejesus had just happened.
Rain had interrupted play for about 33 minutes after Gayle hit IPL debutant Ishwar Pandey’s first two balls for boundaries. It would have been a welcome break for the Pune Warriors, but little were they to know that they were about to be hit by the biggest Gaylestorm — more like a Gayle-hurricane — the world has ever seen.
Whether the big Jamaican was preparing for more rain and a possible Duckworth-Lewis finish, or he wanted to give the Bangalore faithful a fitting farewell since RCB aren’t scheduled to play at home for the next 15 days, or the rain drops that fell on him flicked a switch on, but Gayle went absolutely berserk at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium after the break.
Pandey ended up going for 25 in his first over and was immediately taken off, and Mitchell Marsh brought in. It made no difference to Gayle as he bludgeoned the Australian for 28 runs in the over that included a dot ball. Out went Marsh and in came the spinner Ali Murtuza. Gayle just yawned and spanked him for 17 runs.
Pune captain Aaron Finch then decided to take matters in his own hands. There are about 43 muscles present in a human face; Gayle hardly moved a single one. In his nonchalant swagger, he let the other 600-odd muscles in his body do the talking as Finch was annihilated for the most expensive over of the innings — yielding 29 runs.
In the next over, bowled by Ashok Dinda, Gayle punished a juicy full toss straight down the ground and outside the stadium to bring up the fastest T20 hundred in history — off just 30 balls. As he watched the ball sail over the roof, for the first time in that massacre he showed some emotion as he punched the air and let Tillakaratne Dilshan — more a spectator than partner —embrace him.
Teammate Muttiah Muralitharan perhaps best explained what had just happened. Talking to one of the television hosts, Muralitharan, a veteran of almost two decades said, “It’s unbelievable! I cannot believe what I’ve just seen! In 20 years of my career, I’ve never seen anything like this. I’m glad I’m in his team.” Chennai Super Kings skipper and wicketkeeper MS Dhoni was more articulate in his remarks. “Life is all about taking the right decision, seeing Gayle bat today I think I took the right decision of being a wicket keeper,” he tweeted.
The Gaylestorm blew away for a few minutes as Dilshan decided to tell the world that he was there too. The Sri Lankan hit a couple of boundaries as Gayle took the backseat and caught a breather. In the 14th over, Murtaza caught Dilshan at extra cover to give Pune some relief. However, Gayle perhaps didn’t like Murtaza’s audacity to get his partner out as he carted the left-arm spinner for three humongous sixes a couple of boundaries in the next over to bring up his 150.
Kohli fell early after scoring just 11 runs. But AB de Villiers (31 off eight balls) played a delightful cameo towards the end of Bangalore’s innings to help his team to the record total. Gayle remained unbeaten on 175 at the end, and one can only imagine the magnitude of the massacre if he had been allowed to go on.
Brief Scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore: 263 for 5 in 20 overs (Chris Gayle 175*, Tillakaratne Dilshan 33; Ashok Dinda 2 for 48) vs Pune Warriors India.
(Jaideep Vaidya is a multiple sports buff and a writer at CricketCountry. He has a B.E. in Electronics Engineering, but that isn’t fooling anybody. He started writing on sports during his engineering course and fell in love with it. The best day of his life came on April 24, 1998, when he witnessed birthday boy Sachin Tendulkar pummel a Shane Warne-speared Aussie attack from the stands during the Sharjah Cup Final. A diehard Manchester United fan, you can follow him on Twitter @jaideepvaidya. He also writes a sports blog - The Mullygrubber )