He may have scored just 18 runs from three ODIs and a T20 against Australia recently but Chris Gayle returned to his aggressive best in the Bangladesh Premier League. He smashed 114 from 51 balls (last 87 runs off 22) to help Dhaka Gladiators enter the final on Friday.
The start however, was no indication of how the innings was going to pan out. Gayle lost Tillakaratne Dilshan off the first delivery of the match against Sylhet Royals. He then lost Mohammad Ashraful in the following over and it made the Jamaican assume a slightly cautious stance. While he eventually found support from Shakib Al Hasan (38), the Bangladesh all-rounder soon became a mere spectator as Gayle unleashed his full fury.
Royals' Paul Stirling was smashed for 32 runs in his two overs while Suhrawadi Shuvo and Nazmal Hossain Milon got a blitzkrieg taste of what T20 matches of international standards are all about. They were walloped for 24 and 29 runs in their solitary overs, respectively.
Seven bowlers were asked to find a way to stop Gayle but apart from Mohammad Nabi (economy of 4.25) and Sajidul Islam (economy of 5.75 with three wickets), none managed to do much to stop the utter carnage. As many as twelve sixes flew off Gayle's bat as the 33-year-old batsman dispatched most of the bowlers with utter disdain.
It was Nabi who finally managed to remove Gayle in the 19th over and finish the innings two wickets. Dhaka however ended the innings on 197 - a total that the Royals fell short by just 4 runs eventually.