BPL final knock one of my top-five T20 centuries – Chris Gayle

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Chris Gayle has rated his whirlwind century in the Bangladesh Premier League 2017-18 final as one of the best innings he has ever played. Gayle hammered unbeaten 146 off 69 to demolish Dhaka Dynamites and help Rangpur Riders win their maiden title with a 57-run triumph at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka on Tuesday (December 12).

Gayle smashed several records during his century. The West Indian hit 18 sixes during his innings – the most in a Twenty20 innings. He crossed the 11,000-run mark in T20s and also posted the highest individual score in a final of a T20 League. Gayle also became the only batsman to have 20 T20 centuries and crossed the 100 sixes mark in BPL.

“You actually look back and say well done. You tap yourself on the back. It is a winning effort as well, which makes it more special for me. So I am glad that we came out on top. I would put it in the top five [among T20 centuries], certainly for the occasion as well. I will have to reflect where this takes place. It is right up there,” he said after his exploits with the bat.

Chris Gayle carved 18 sixes - a T20 record - in his match-winning innings in the BPL final © BCB
Chris Gayle carved 18 sixes – a T20 record – in his match-winning innings in the BPL final © BCB

Riders had lost previous match centurion Evin Lewis in the second over with just five runs on the board. However, McCullum (51 not out) and Gayle collaborated to score 201 for the second wicket and shut the door on their opponents. Gayle revealed the plan was to bat as deep as possible.

There was plenty of punishment for the bowlers even when Sunil Narine gave away just 18 runs from his four overs. “They [Dhaka Dynamites] started well. We lost Charles a bit early,” he said. “We had to give ourselves a chance to bat as deep as possible. It was important for one of us to bat right through the innings. It actually set the momentum for us.

“It is a good wicket, once you are set on it. You can score a bit freely. It wasn’t the best, fully 100 % batting conditions. They had quality bowlers. We didn’t let their best bowlers get wickets. Narine is their key bowler. Once you lose Charles early, you play according to the situation, use a bit of experience. Know when to go, when to hold back.”

“It’s nice to reunite that partnership. Probably there are not many destructive players like Chris [Gayle] in World Twenty20 so it’s nice to open batting with him. Probably I just try to give him strike and watch him hitting sixes,” McCullum had said ahead of the start of the tournament.

Gayle too reciprocated the emotion and was happy they were able to put up a show for the fans. “When we arrived in Bangladesh, everyone was so excited to see Gayle and McCullum. It didn’t happen early on in the tournament, but I am glad it happened when it mattered. It is not about trying to outdo each other. The communication and understanding was very good.”

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