Your average neighborhood coach will tell you the art of batting is a complex science which requires planning and knowing how to pace your innings. Of course, Chris Gayle isn’t your average neighborhood talent.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore opener showed just how simple batting can be, conducting a six-hitting clinic against Kings XI Punjab as his whirlwind 49-ball 107, studded with 10 fours and 9 massive sixes, took the hosts to an imposing 205/6 against the visitors here. RCB won by 85 runs.
The West Indies southpaw knows only one way to bat. When it works it's an unmatched spectacle; when it doesn't you hear the word lazy thrown about a lot. Gayle started the innings with his feet glued to the crease, even looking a tad ‘lazy’ in the process. In fact after his first 16 balls, he had only scored 19 runs. Kings XI pacer Ryan Harris had him swinging and missing five times in his first over, a maiden.
Then Gayle broke free, and how. Harris was the first one to bear the brunt of his brute force as he hit the Australian for back-to-back sixes at the start of his second over. There was no looking back after that as Gayle went on the offensive, racing away to his second century in this IPL.
Virat Kohli had the best view in the house as he had when Gayle took apart Kolkata Knight Riders with 102 not out.
Gayle's six off Praveen Kumar in the eighth sailed into the roof of the stadium — no mean feat. The ball could not be retrieved and was changed, but there was no change in the bowlers’ fortunes as Gayle dispatched them repeatedly over the boundary ropes and reached his second IPL century of the season off just 46 balls — the second fastest ton in the four-year history of the league.
Gayle was finally dismissed by Piyush Chawla when he was caught at the mid-wicket boundary by Harris. By then, of course, the damage was done.
AB de Villiers chipped in with a 14-ball 27 to guide the hosts to an eventual total that proved well beyond Kings XI. The visitors never recovered after losing five wickets in eight overs and Gayle piled on further misery, taking three wickets.