Gayle and Kohli show keeps Bangalore's title hunt alive

Bangalore beat Delhi by 21 runs; Gayle smashes 13 sixes in his unbeaten 128.

Scores | Action images | IPL5 | Points table

Gayle and Kohli added 204 unbeaten runs, a new T20 record.

Chris Gayle is a man in desperate need of a challenge. Bowlers in T20 competitions around the world have failed to provide him one. Back home in the Caribbean, on the bouncy wickets of Australia or the flat ones in Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, and most of all in the IPL, the big Jamaican has butchered one attack after another. It’s hard to fathom what bowlers have been doing wrong.

His run-scoring has been formulaic: settle down, see off the new ball, let the weaker bowlers come on, turn off Bruce Banner, turn on Hulk, go smash. That’s exactly what happened today.

Briefly, Umesh Yadav seemed to have found the magic mantra to keep Gayle quiet. Yadav bowled short of length around off-stump, swinging away from the left-hander. The unthinkable happened: Gayle played a maiden over. It has got to be one of the bowling moments of the tournament.

Gayle took his time. He moved to 10 off 17 balls. He hit a couple of sixes over long-on, reached 38 in 34. Still slow by his standards. Delhi had done a pretty good holding job till then with their off-stump line. But their wheels soon came off. Gayle took 62 off his next 19 balls for the hundred, and 90 in all off his 28. 

In those 19 balls, Parvindar Negi was hit into the stands four times and Irfan Pathan thrice in an over. These were all hit in the arc between square leg and long-off. Mahela Jayawardene, standing in for the ill Virender Sehwag, brought back Yadav, who went back to his off-stump line. This time it didn’t work. Gayle smashed him for sixes over extra-cover and point.

The best of Gayle’s IPL record-equalling 13 sixes today was his last of the innings. Varun Aaron bowled him a fast yorker outside off-stump, but erred by giving him the slightest width. Gayle dug it out and guided it over the point boundary. There was nowhere you could bowl to him today. The second highest score in the game today was Virat Kohli’s 73. Gayle scored more in sixes alone. Their second-wicket stand of 204 is a T20 record.

What sets Gayle apart from most big hitters of the game is his fuss-free approach to hitting sixes. There’s no fancy footwork, no attempt to hoodwink the bowlers by changing his grip or stance. There’s little or no premeditation. As he said after the game, the decision to go for six is left for the last moment. His reach is big, his arms strong, his bat as big and heavy as William Wallace’s sword, and the boundaries nearly not big enough. If the ball lands in his swinging zone, it will be punished. And he needn’t even go full throttle at it.

Batsmen these days are only too keen to express delight after hitting a six. They break into a laugh, brag to their partner about how they did it, and generally looked pleased. Kohli at the other end certainly did. Gayle on the other hand remains in his character: you can’t tell from his stone-faced visage if he’s just got out or just hit the bowler for five sixes in an over.

Gayle has 706 runs in 13 innings in IPL5, with 57 sixes. The next man is 160 runs behind. In all T20 cricket, Gayle has 3943 runs in 106 games. He has the most hundreds (8) and the highest average for anyone with over 1,000 runs (43.81).

He has the most sixes (279 — 81 more than the next guy, Kieron Pollard), and averages a six every nine balls. No other T20 batsman with an average above 40 has a strike rate above 150. If Gayle is not the Bradman of the shortest format, he certainly is its Hammond.

But these impressive numbers would count for little if Bangalore fail to win their last league game. Luckily, they will play it in Hyderabad, Deccan Chargers’ bogey venue. Winning there may help them scrape through to the play-offs with 19 points. Afterwards, Gayle needs to do what nobody has for the Royal Challengers: win them an IPL final.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of the Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusia… More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as coach

Moores gets second stint as coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »