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by Saksham Mishra & Cricket World Thursday 23 April 2020
66 balls, 13 boundaries and 17 sixes at a strike rate of over 265! This was Christopher Henry Gayle's onslaught against Pune Warriors in the 31st match of the 2013 IPL. He remained unbeaten on 175 as Royal Challengers Bangalore put on a ridiculous 263/5 on the board.
In 2013, Gayle was playing his third season for the RCB. He had won already two consecutive Orange caps in the past seasons, and it was time to treat the spectators with power-hitting of the highest order. In the course of the inning, it almost became inevitable for every other ball to fly over the ropes.
That said, Gayle also came up against not the most potent bowling attack. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the stand out bowler for Pune Warriors and his figures of 4-23-0 at an economy of just 5.75 reiterate his class. The same though can not be said about the rest.
And it was evident as each of Mitchell Marsh, Ali Murtaza, Ishwar Pandey and Ashok Dinda went the distance. Even skipper Aaron Finch tried his hand for an over and went for 29. Nonetheless, full marks to Gayle for succeeding with the shots each time he launched into it.
His unbeaten 175 came off only 66 balls. Seven years on, no one has been able to break the record. Rishabh Pant came close to breaking it in 2018 when he scored a 32-ball hundred for Delhi, playing against Himachal Pradesh, in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
The score remains the top score in T20s. Apart from Gayle, only Aaron Finch has breached the 170-run mark in T20s. His knock came off just 76 balls, including 16 sixes and 10 fours at a strike rate of 226.31 when Australia played Zimbabwe in a T20 International in 2018.
In the same innings, Gayle also set the record for the most sixes in an innings (17). He later smashed his own record in the Bangladesh Premier League.
His marathon knock also saw him add 167 runs with his opening partner Tillakaratne Dilshan. Known for his attacking style himself, the Sri Lankan was no match for Dilshan that day as he could only contribute 33 runs to the partnership.
In reply, Pune Warriors could manage only 133/9 off their 20 overs. You couldn't keep Gayle out of the match that day as he claimed 2/5 with the ball as well. No prices for guessing then that the Man of the Match went which way.
Naturally, Gayle was overjoyed after the knock and celebrated with the Gangnam style which was a craze in those days. "I knew that if I stayed till the end, we could get a big score. We did slow down a bit on occasions, but Dilshan played well. I can't say when I will start hitting, I like that to be a surprise. I am sure the crowd loved the Gangnam style. We all had fun," the batsman said in the post-match presentation.
The Universe Boss has since had lean IPL seasons in 2014, 2016 and 2017. However, despite his age, the batsman in going strong as his average exceeded 40 in the last two seasons, with a strike rate of around 150. His career statistics in the IPL remain top-drawer. He has piled up 4484 from 125 matches at an average pf 41.13 and a strike rate of 151.02. Apart from 28 half-centuries, his 6 IPL tons are the most by any batsman.
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