'I wanted this so badly' - Chris Gayle
Chris Gayle's first significant contribution in IPL 2017 - a 38-ball 77 - helped Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Gujarat Lions by 21 runs in Rajkot to lift themselves off the bottom of the table. Victory aside, the innings was special for Gayle, who became the first batsman to bring up 10,000 T20 runs.
Brought in as a replacement for the injured AB de Villiers, he put together a 122-run opening stand with Virat Kohli as Royal Challengers blasted 213 for 2, the highest total of the season. But much before unleashing mayhem, it was a single that brought him much relief.
"Samuel Badree reminded me before the game and said 'Chris only three more runs to go, make sure you get it' so it was actually playing on my mind a bit," he said of the landmark. "Once I crossed the line, I said: 'listen it's time to have a go and then it eventually paid off, so I am really happy to get the runs."
By the time Gayle walked off, he had blasted five fours and seven monstrous sixes. "People are still looking out for Chris Gayle. The universe boss is still here and still alive," he said. "It was great fun. You know it's good to be back. I wanted this so badly, but first of all to get 10,000 runs, it was actually on my mind, so I'm glad to get that sort of achievement. It's a privilege to actually be the first person to get there. Hopefully I can continue entertaining the fans."
Gayle had the lowest strike rate among openers who had played 50 balls this season before coming into the game. An aspect he corrected on Tuesday. The trigger was Ravindra Jadeja's second over, in which he hit two fours and two sixes. The key to his effort was the manner in which he held his shape and didn't slog wildly. "It's not really premeditated, it just comes natural, to be honest," he said. "Over the years, a lot of guys spoke to me about my stance. Even Shaun Pollock spoke to me about my stance. You're never too old to learn."
In his hour of glory, Gayle didn't forget to thank everyone who helped him get there. "I just want to thank the fans and all the franchises where I have actually played around the world. Even playing for West Indies as well. At the end of the day, they have actually played a part in this 10,000 runs as well. So, I want to thank all the franchises. It has been fantastic and like I said still I have a lot more to offer to the fans. Hopefully, I can keep entertaining and get a few more thousand runs under my belt."