Cricket has seen many great batsmen over the years that have enriched the game with their craft, strokeplay and even sheer will to protect their wicket.
But when it comes to batsmen who could plunder the ball at will, few would look beyond the West Indian opener Chris Gayle. When he got going, the opposition fielders would be reduced to spectators with the best view in the house.
One could say Gayle always batted in T20 mode even before the format gained widespread recognition, so when it became popular as a form of cricket at an international level, he was destined to be a huge star.
On April 23, 2013, Gayle hit his personal pinnacle in the shortest format of the game. Playing in the Indian Premier League, for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Pune Warriors at Bengaluru’s Chinnaswamy stadium, the West Indies star played one of the most breathtaking knocks ever seen in cricketing history: an unbeaten 175.
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Gayle opened his account on the third ball and hit two boundaries of Ishawar Pandey’s next over before rain interrupted play. After about a 30-minute break, the West Indian began from where he left as he scored three more boundaries before the over was completed.
He followed that up with 29 runs off Mitchell Marsh’s over before continuing to find the boundary at will. He completed his century in just 30 balls with a six off Ashoke Dinda to break Andrew Symonds’ record of fastest cricket ton in 34 balls.
However, there were more records that were to tumble. The West Indian slowed down relatively and took 36 deliveries to score the remaining 75 runs off his knock but remained unbeaten as RCB posted a mammoth 263/5 in their 20 overs, the highest-ever score scored in a T20 game by a team back then.
Gayle wasn’t done and picked up two wickets to help RCB to a 130-run victory. However, the highlight of the day was definitely Gayle’s brutal knock where he cleared the roof of the stadium more than once.
It remains the highest individual score in a T20 match and although Aaron Finch came close in 2018 with a 172 against Zimbabwe, it will take some doing to eclipse that.
50 off 17 balls (6 x 4, 4 x 6)
100 off 30 balls (8 x 4, 11 x 6)
150 off 53 balls (11 x 4, 16 x 6)
(Note: Scroll sideways to view all columns in the tables below)
Highest individual scores in IPL
|CH Gayle||175*||66||13||17||265.15||RCB||v Warriors||Bengaluru||23 Apr 2013|
|BB McCullum||158*||73||10||13||216.43||KKR||v RCB||Bengaluru||18 Apr 2008|
|AB de Villiers||133*||59||19||4||225.42||RCB||v Mum Indians||Mumbai||10 May 2015|
|AB de Villiers||129*||52||10||12||248.07||RCB||v Guj Lions||Bengaluru||14 May 2016|
|CH Gayle||128*||62||7||13||206.45||RCB||v Daredevils||Delhi||17 May 2012|
He scored a record total of 17 sixes and 13 boundaries during the 66-ball knock.
Most sixes in an innings in IPL
|CH Gayle||175*||66||13||17||265.15||RCB||v Warriors||Bengaluru||23 Apr 2013||T20|
|BB McCullum||158*||73||10||13||216.43||KKR||v RCB||Bengaluru||18 Apr 2008||T20|
|CH Gayle||128*||62||7||13||206.45||RCB||v Daredevils||Delhi||17 May 2012||T20|
|CH Gayle||117||57||7||12||205.26||RCB||v Kings XI||Bengaluru||6 May 2015||T20|
|AB de Villiers||129*||52||10||12||248.07||RCB||v Guj Lions||Bengaluru||14 May 2016||T20|
Gayle said it was all about manipulating the ball after getting off to a flying start and expressed his happiness at reaching such a big score.
“I’m lost for words. It was just one of those days. It’s a good wicket and I started well,” Gayle said
“All I had for breakfast this morning was a plain omelette, two pancakes and a hot chocolate,” he added when he was asked about what he had before coming for the game.
Aaron Finch, who was at the receiving end of Gayle’s knock, hailed it as special.
“That’s a special innings. When a guy bats like that there’s not a lot we can do, there’s no boundary big enough,” Finch said.
“When you see balls flying over the head it does affect your confidence. Whoever bowled was going the journey. We couldn’t stop him.” he added.
Not often you can hear Gayle say “lost for words”. On that day, he was. We all were.
Videos courtesy: IPLT20.com / BCCI
Stats courtesy: ESPNCricinfo Statsguru