All-star of the match

He's only played two innings this IPL, but Chris Gayle is already the season's second-highest six-hitter, third-highest run-getter and the only centurion. Mohali's big boundaries, among the biggest in India, were rendered non-existent as Gayle smacked 11 sixes en route his his 21st T20 hundred. He took a particular liking to Rashid Khan, who conceded 55 in four overs, his most expensive figures in T20 cricket.

Gayle made only three runs off his first eight balls, but quickly launched thereafter. He smashed Chris Jordan's second over for a four and six, but was truly into his groove when Rashid was hit out for two successive sixes in the next over - the only time he'd been hit for two maximums in the Powerplay.

Now, Mohali is a ground Gayle enjoys batting in. Before Thursday's game, he had struck three fifties in his last four games at the PCA Stadium, and Gayle added to that tally when he tapped a yorker towards midwicket in the 13th over for a 41-ball fifty but then it took him only 17 more balls to get to hundred. Such was his carnage, that Sunrisers captain Kane Williamson was forced to bowl Bhuvneshwar Kumar out before the 19th over.

Amid the fours and sixes, Gayle was enthusiastic with the running between the wickets. While he crunched 12 shots to the boundary, he also collected 36 runs in ones and twos. When Gayle reached three figures, the typical grin and the cradle celebration -which he seems to have picked up from his former West Indies team-mate Darren Sammy - made an appearance. It was a truly special knock, one that he had saved for the eve of his daughter's second birthday.

The wow moment

The 26 runs that Gayle muscled off Rashid's third - and the game's fourteenth - over broke Sunrisers' back. This wasn't blind slogging, but a calculated approach against a master tactician who has a number of variations. The key to his big hits were a solid base and strong bottom-handed power that allowed him to muscle three sixes down the ground and swing a high full toss deep into the stands at midwicket. Getting close to the delivery before teeing off helped him negate the googlies. Gayle's rare sprint for a second run off the final delivery, one that elicited a big grin from the Jamaican, showed the 38-year old still had the legs.

The numbers

  • Gayle has scored three centuries in his last seven T20 innings
  • Gayle hit only 18 dot balls in his hundred, the joint-lowest among Gayle's six IPL hundreds. Among all his 21 hundreds, it was Gayle third-lowest dot-ball count.
  • With 280 sixes in the IPL, Gayle has hit over a hundred sixes more than the second-most prolific six-hitter Rohit Sharma (179).
  • AB de Villiers and Gayle are the only two batsmen to hit Rashid for four sixes in one over.

What they said

"Virender Sehwag [the team director] saved the IPL by picking me"
Chris Gayle was in a jovial mood after collecting his second Man-of-the-Match award for the season

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo