CT IPL Flashback: When Chris Gayle smashed the fastest T20 hundred
When the Indian Premier League began in the year 2008, Gayle was first picked up by the KKR but the Jamaican did not enjoy a good run with the team.
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When it comes to power hitting in T20 cricket, the game has not witnessed a bigger name than Chris Gayle. His sheer abilities to muscle the cricket ball is unmatched and he can dismantle the opposition within a space of few minutes. Tall in stature, strong forearms and a strong built, he possesses everything that makes a devastating batsman in the shortest format of the game.
When the Indian Premier League began in the year 2008, he was first picked up by the Kolkata Knight Riders but the Jamaican did not enjoy a good run with the team. But his fortunes took a massive turn when he was bagged by the Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2011 after the Knight Riders released him. He kept notching up big runs one after the other for RCB.
His biggest innings came in the year 2013 when he made the superhuman effort of scoring a century off just 30 balls. Many years ago, we had seen Shahid Afridi reaching that landmark off 37 balls in the ODI format and we thought that would never be repeated but Gayle not only matched that but beat that achievement by 7 balls.
The build up
23rd April 2013 was the day when the 31st match of the sixth season was played between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Pune Warriors India. The visitors invited RCB to bat first after winning the toss. Chris Gayle took the field alongside Tillakaratne Dilshan and the first over produced just 6 runs. Gayle smashed back to back boundaries at the start of the second over but rain intervened and the players were forced to go off.
Half an hour later, the game resumed and Gayle hit 3 more boundaries to make it 21 off Ishwar Pandey’s over. Dilshan played second fiddle to Gayle and was in no mood to attempt matching his fellow opener. Mitchell Marsh arrived into the attack in the 5th over and the poor fella was knocked for 4 sixes and a four by the West Indian that gave him his fifty off just 17 balls. Every bowler was punished and there was absolutely no reprieve for anyone.
The assault continued
After the powerplay ended, the score had motored along to 65. The left-arm spinner Aaron Finch came to bowl in the 8th over and it turned out to be a suicidal move as he went for 29 runs with 4 sixes and a four and Gayle with a blink of an eye was sitting on 95 from 27 balls. The moment arrived in the 9th over when he hit Ashoke Dinda for a 112m six that went out of the Chinnaswamy.
Gayle was down on his knees with his arms raised in the air to acknowledge the capacity crowd who had witnessed a superhuman effort. A hundred was scored off only 30 balls, something which was never heard of in the game. His partner Dilshan left him in the 14th over when the score read 167/1 to which the Sri Lankan had contributed only 33 runs.
And there was more
The Jamaican was in no mood to settle for just a century and was adamant to score much more. Another left-arm spinner Ali Murtaza was taken apart by him in the 15th over that included 3 sixes and 2 fours. The six off the last ball gave Gayle his 150 and with 5 overs still to go, there was an anticipation of the near impossible figure of 200. He kept losing partners at the other end and surprisingly he slowed down.
If there ever was a double century to be scored, it was Gayle who could do in that particular innings. But to the surprise of everyone, he slowed down considerably and scored only 25 runs in the last 5 overs. The innings ended with a colossal score of 263 which became the highest score ever in the league. Gayle finished unbeaten at 175 off only 66 balls that included 13 fours and 17 sixes.
And there was a bonus in store too
The Pune team was never in the hunt and lost wickets at regular intervals and there was absolutely nothing they could do after what Gayle did to them. After 19 overs, they were tottering at 127/7 and with an over to go, the skipper Kohli asked the centurion to bowl the last over.
To add the cherry to his cake, he picked up 2 wickets in the over with his off-spinners. First, it was Murtaza who was stumped by the keeper and then Ishwar Pandey was castled. Both the bowlers were assaulted by Gayle in the first innings and to add insult to injury, they lost their wickets to him later.
RCB won the game by a huge margin of 130 runs and there was certainly no doubt on who would be adjudged the Man of the Matches. It was an innings for the ages that would have its impact on the game for many years to come. And once more it was proved that cricket is a batsmen’s game in the modern era.