The Royal Challengers Bangalore were dressed in green jerseys as part of their initiative to become the first carbon neutral cricket team. In the end, it was the Kochi Tuskers Kerala who were left green with envy as the hosts underlined their superiority in all departments to cruise to a nine-wicket win at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Sunday. Chasing a modest 126, RCB's in-form opener Chris Gayle effectively ended the contest in the third over of the innings, smacking a world record 37 runs off pacer Prasanth Parameswaran.
The West Indian hit four sixes and three fours off the seven-ball over, which included a no-ball. After hitting the first two balls for sixes over point, the second off a no-ball, he dispatched the next two for fours. One was hammered past mid-wicket and the second between cover and extra-cover. He then proceeded to hit back-to-back sixes, one over point and the second a towering shot over the bowler's head. The last ball got an inside edge and raced past the wicketkeeper for four.
Gayle was finally dismissed in the next over for a whirlwind 44 off 16 balls with three fours and five sixes, paceman Vinay Kumar deceiving to bowl him off-stump by impersonating Lasith Malinga's slingy action.
However, his wicket had no bearing on the result as Tillakaratne Dilshan (52 off 31 balls; 8x4, 1x6) and Virat Kohli (27 not out) completed the formalities in just 13.1 overs.
The Tuskers had started their innings in a positive manner and were going at over eight runs per over until skipper Daniel Vettori brought himself into the attack. The Kiwi's move paid immediate dividends as he dismissed compatriot Brendon McCullum for 22.
At the other end, Gayle's tidy off-spinners also yielded a wicket. Seeing Michael Klinger advancing down the track, the Jamaican sent one into his middle stump, dismissing him for 24, the top score of the innings.
Parthiv Patel almost joined Klinger back in the dugout as he hit one straight to short-midwicket, but got a lucky reprieve as Abhimanyu Mithun overstepped.
Skipper Mahela Jayawardene was soon caught behind off Vettori. Patel failed to make the most of his let-off as a comical mix-up with Brad Hodge, which saw both batsmen running towards the same end, led to his run out.
Hodge's stay was also cut short as Zaheer Khan pulled of an acrobatic catch to dismiss the Australian veteran off new ball partner S Aravind.
Ravindra Jadeja played a lone hand and hit 23 but the batsmen around him failed to even reach double figures.
... goes one better than the best
What are the maximum number of runs that can be scored in an over? History and mathematics tell us it's 36. Sir Garfield Sobers, Ravi Shastri, Yuvraj Singh and Herschelle Gibbs will attest to that. However, Royal Challengers Bangalore's Chris Gayle blasted as many and got an extra run from a no-ball for a world record 37 runs off Kochi Tuskers Kerala medium-pacer Prasanth Parameswaran's one over at the Chinnaswamy stadium on Sunday.
And, all this despite a restless Saturday night. "It was a late night for me yesterday. I couldn't sleep well. I went to bed at 6 am," the West Indies stalwart said after his stupendous effort. It makes one wonder, what would he have done after a good night's sleep?
However, he'll give many sleepless nights to Parameswaran, and for that matter anyone who earns his bread and butter bowling in the IPL.
The '37' over was the third of RCB's innings in their pursuit of the Tuskers modest 126-run target. Sixes off the first two balls, the second off no-ball, set the tone. Gayle then hammered fours of the next two deliveries, before two more sixes. Off the final ball, a wicked inside edge sped past wicket-keeper Brendon McCullum to the boundary.
Captaining a cricket team requires great cognitive effort. However, when you have Gayle in your team it's a no-brainer. "Absolutely nothing," said RCB skipper Daniel Vettori when asked if he gives any instructions to Gayle before he steps out to bat. "I just sit back and enjoy."