'Everything went right for me today' - Gayle
Chris Gayle's 175 that demolished Pune Warriors took only 66 deliveries, and included 17 sixes. While that may seem like the very definition of sustained hitting, and makes it hard to imagine a period where the batsman took it easy, Gayle spoke about how he paced his innings.
"I didn't want to just get the hundred and continue blasting and blasting and get out, you know how quickly this game can change," Gayle said after delivering a 130-run victory for Royal Challengers Bangalore. He reached his hundred off 30 deliveries in the ninth over, before taking it slightly easy for the next few overs.
"I wanted to stay there till the end, make sure I bat at least 18 overs, if not all, which I did, I look on that as a point of view, where I try and bat as many overs as possible, get the hundred, and then actually let Dilly [Tillakaratne Dilshan] take charge while I get a break and pick it up back in the end."
Having broken the record for the fastest T20 hundred, the highest individual score in T20 and the most sixes in an innings, Gayle said it was too soon for him to gauge the magnitude of his achievement. "Words can't explain how I feel, I think later on tonight when I am by myself I can look back and reflect on what I've done today," he said. "I'm grateful, overall from a team point of view, I'm really happy with the win, that put us on top of the table, just one of those innings, one of these days when you come out and things go according to how you want it to."
Aaron Finch, the Warriors captain, watched helplessly as his bowlers, and his own bowling, was ruthlessly taken apart by Gayle. There were no qualifiers in his praise for Gayle. "That was simply the best innings I've ever seen," Finch said. He later joked: "Maybe we should ban him from the game. Maybe he's too good, he hits it too far."
Virat Kohli, Royal Challengers' captain, was left "speechless". "No words. I cannot ask for anything more as a captain," Kohli said after the game. "I'm privileged that I watched it here today live. All the people who came to the stadium today also should feel honoured that they got to see one of the best innings ever."
Dilshan, who partnered Gayle through most of his assault, was equally awestruck. "I've batted with him in the last IPL too and he scored a couple of hundreds. But this was something special," he said. "In my career this was the first time I saw someone hit the ball so cleanly. I was just standing at the other end and enjoying every bit of it."
It wasn't just with the bat that Gayle did damage. Asked to bowl the final over of the match - his first chance with the ball this IPL season - he picked up two wickets, before celebrating with his famous Gangnam Style dance. "It was really good to finish off in that particular way, " he said. "Some people keep on asking, 'they have seen me do Gangnam Style in international cricket, why not in IPL?' I thought that was the perfect time to do it, you get a wicket, everything just worked for Chris Gayle today … I'm an entertainer, I try to entertain as much as possible."
With Warriors conceding a record 263 runs - the most in the history of Twenty20s - Gayle was asked whether he felt sorry for the bowler s. "Sometimes I get knocked over first ball, I would love to ask the bowler as well 'Do you feel sorry for me'. We're paid to be competitive out there, serious event the IPL, lot of money being spent, you want to put on your best performance at all times."