‘Gayle Force’ blew away the Pune Warriors as the big-bodied Jamaican struck 17 sixes and 13 fours en route to the fastest ever T20 century in only 30 balls. Of the 175 runs, 154 runs came in boundaries.
At the end of all the madness, before the applause and the TV interviews, there was a moment’s silence in the stands, almost as if those gathered had been winded by what had unfolded. As a rule, nothing he should do on a cricket ground ought to surprise anyone; but at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Tuesday. Chris Gayle surpassed himself, making the highest individual score in T20 cricket and the swiftest hundred in all forms of the game, in an exhibition of ceaseless, remorseless hitting.
Gayle’s unbeaten 175 (66b, 13x4, 17x6) — an innings that encompassed and precipitated a number of records — carried Royal Challengers Bangalore to a mammoth 130-run victory over Pune Warriors India in the IPL.
The visitor pursued RCB’s 263, the tallest innings total in the history of the format, in some earnestness, but it was simply futile, the run chase long condemned to be a mere footnote to what had gone before.
As if the pain he had inflicted with the bat was not enough, Gayle returned to perform the last rites, taking two wickets — and doing the Gangnam Style jig for the crowd — in the final over.
Earlier, PWI inserted RCB in to bat after winning the toss (a cruel joke in hindsight), and almost at once — eight balls had been bowled — the rain came down. The interruption lasted close to a half-hour; Gayle re-emerged at 4:40 p.m., and ultimately walked back, with close of innings, at 6:15. In between, there was unbridled carnage.
First, Ishwar Pandey was whacked for 21 runs in his (interrupted) debut IPL over — some baptism. If Pandey had been thumped like a bowler out of college, Mitchell Marsh (28 runs in his first over) got the high-school treatment; Ali Murtaza (2-0-45-0) and the captain Aaron Finch (1-0-29-0) were flogged beyond recognition.
The Gayle that turned up on the afternoon was far from the tranquil, restrained self of Saturday; this was a man in a frightful hurry.
His hundred arrived in the ninth over, with a vicious six off Murtaza that left a dent on the edge of the roof. It had taken all of 30 balls, eclipsing the T20 (34, Andrew Symonds) and IPL records (37, Yusuf Pathan) comfortably.
In total, Gayle struck an eye-watering 17 sixes, one more than Graham Napier’s all-time T20 high.
The records sped by: a four off Bhuvneshwar Kumar (whose bowling figures of 4-0-23-0 look Herculean) took him past Brendon McCullum’s 158, hitherto the highest individual score in T20 cricket, made, coincidentally, at the same venue.
With help from Tillakaratne Dilshan — who with Gayle added 167 for the first wicket — and A.B. de Villiers, RCB rattled up a gigantic 263, eclipsing Sri Lanka’s 260 as the highest team total in the format.
He’d only had an omelette, two pancakes and one hot chocolate in the morning, Gayle said afterwards. Lunch, it seems, was to be consumed at the ground.