One aspect fans love the most about the Indian Premier League is that it brings together the best talent from the across the globe. Amongst all the overseas players in the 8-team league, Chris Gayle has become an absolute icon in India, for his colossal sixes, scintillating shots and monster hits. Gayle is entertaining, and entertainment is what an IPL fan wants.
Over the years, the Jamaican has given the viewers plenty to cheer about, especially in the T20 format. Besides playing for domestic leagues in West Indies and India, the fierce batsman has plied his trade in almost every T20 league in the world, and enjoyed decent success.
Gayle has five IPL centuries to his name, along with 18 half-centuries, which shows an eerie consistency, given his penchant for going over the top. He has not been in the best of form in the last three seasons, but this year we can expect the Jamaican to bounce back.
As RCB play their opening match against SRH today, let us take a look at Christopher Henry Gayle’s top 5 IPL knocks that will forever remain etched in fans’ memories.
#1 175 off 66 – RCB vs Pune Warriors, 2013
The hard-hitting batsman went on a rampage against the Pune Warriors' bowling attack in 2013 to score a scintillating 175 runs in only 66 deliveries for the Royal Challengers Bangalore at Bengaluru’s M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
He notched up his century in only 30 balls – the fastest century in the history of the IPL – breaking the record previously set by Yusuf Pathan who scored a 37-ball century for KKR in 2010.
Gayle’s entertaining innings comprised 13 fours and 17 sixes at a strike-rate over 265.
#2 128 off 62 – RCB vs Delhi Daredevils, 2012
The 2012 season can be singled out as the batsman’s best outing in the IPL. This time around, the Gayle storm began in Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla, where the victims were Delhi Daredevils.
No ground is big enough once Gayle gets going and the small boundaries of the Kotla looked even smaller as the assault began. Gayle smashed 128 not out off only 62 balls, which included a total of 13 sixes along the way.
The Delhi bowlers looked completely demoralised and Bangalore went on to score 215 from 20 overs, which couldn’t be chased by the home side.
#3 89 off 47 – RCB vs Mumbai Indians, 2011
In the second qualifier of IPL 2011, the Jamaican gave Mumbai Indians no hope of victory when he destroyed their bowling attack early in the innings. Mumbai Indians made the huge mistake of beginning proceedings with Abu Nechim Ahmed instead of Lasith Malinga.
The RCB opener began his assault from the very first over itself and Mayank Agarwal gave him good company as they scored over a 100 in the first 10 overs. Gayle’s 89 featured nine fours and five sixes. Mumbai were completely demoralised by the Gayle storm and couldn’t chase down the total of 185.
107 off 49 – RCB VS Kings XI Punjab, 2011
Gayle’s second century in the IPL 2011 came against the Kings XI Punjab, who had no answer to his power hitiing on that particular day. Gayle fired on all innings by hitting 107 off only 49 balls, and with that, RCB put up 205 on the board.
The West Indian hit nine sixes and 10 fours and no bowler was able to stop the flow of runs until the Jamaican was finally dismissed in the 15th over. Had he stayed there for a little longer, the target could have been way more than 205.
#5 81 off 48 – RCB vs Pune Warriors India, 2011
Chasing 183 to win the match, Gayle’s knock held Bangalore’s innings together. While 81 off 48 does not even come close to his fastest knocks, this one was sensible. In one over from Rahul Sharma, the Jamaican struck five sixes to turn the game in RCB’s favour.
Although Gayle was dismissed when Bangalore still had many overs left, they managed to cross the line with Ab de Villiers and Saurabh Tiwary coming up with handy knocks. Gayle changed the game in one surprise over, and that is the value he brings to T20 tournaments.