Here at Right Off the Bat we’ve had occasion in the past to wax lyrical about Chris Gayle, the West Indian opening batsman and destroyer of bowling attacks, but today’s destruction requires a special mention. In the course of only 66 balls, Gayle smashed 175 runs not out. His was the highest score in Indian Premier League history, and indeed the highest individual total in Twenty20 history. He reached his century in only 30 balls, making his the fastest century in any form of professional cricket since records began. His total included a brain-melting 17—yes, seventeen, sixes: the highest number ever scored in any innings. Gayle’s knock helped his side, Royal Challengers Bangalore, to reach 263-5, the largest total ever scored in the IPL or in Twenty20 history. RCB’s challengers, the Pune Warriors, didn’t know where to put the ball.
Gayle has a certain stillness at the crease that makes what he does seem effortless. He’s tall and strong and he wields a heavy bat, but it’s his preternatural calmness and casual ability to loft any delivery high into the stands (or, in today’s case, onto and then over the roof of the stadium) that gives him a special aura. “Rampage” was one of the words used to describe Gayle’s performance today in Bangalore, and it’s hard to disagree with the choice of words. Here is the man himself talking about his innings—with a bit of Telagu thrown in at the end.