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Saturday, April 27, 2013

the Gayle

I remember this blog post from some time back that I titled favourite pastime. Cricket’s been my all-time favourite sport. I’d choose it over football any day of the week even though it’s the world’s most popular game. The only thing is that ever since I came back to Malaysia, I never had the chance to play nor the resources or time to watch any of the games.

Then the 20-over format of the game was introduced. I’m not sure if it was the first ever international competition for the format, but I remember watching South Africa take on Australia at the Royal Selangor Club Bukit Kiara in KL on TV! I wasn’t even back in Malaysia then, it was a little surreal to see some of my heroes playing cricket in my own country.

Over time, T20 cricket grew to be a lot more popular. Because the length of the game is much shorter, more people have the time to attend matches and finally India did the right thing by making it a commercial sport, by creating the Indian Premier League (IPL). Whoever came up with the idea has really made it exciting, with rules such as only four overseas players for each time in one game, having player auctions and so on.

The best thing about the IPL though, is that it’s being streamed on YouTube for free! I had no idea it was until I came across one of those YouTube blue promotion banners. So for the last few weeks, I’ve been watching live IPL matches at night. Even if I tuned in late, the great thing is that you can still rewind even though the feed is live.

I’ve really enjoyed watching some good batting by people like David Miller, Kieron Pollard and some of the young and upcoming Indian batsmen. I’m especially happy I get to see Jacques Kallis in action again, my favourite player. Solid as a batter and a bowler, so many people regard him as one of the great players still around.

Then only a few days ago, I was very fortunate to witness what is probably the best ever innings in limited-overs cricket ever. Chris Gayle has always been famous for being an explosive batter, but the other night when Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) played Pune Warriors, he scored a total of 175 not out.

Pepsi IPL - Match 31 RCB v PWI
Chris Gayle celebrates reaching 100 runs, scored in just 30 deliveries.

It broke so many records, the highest individual score in T20, the fastest hundred in T20 (probably in all formats of the game too), took his team total to 265 runs, which is the highest team total ever. Actually that last record is mind blowing, some teams don’t score that much in 50-over cricket! A good score in T20 is probably 160 runs, a very good score 180. Scoring 265 runs is ridiculous, its like someone put in a cheat code or something. Every player interviewed said that’s the best batting they’ve seen anyone play ever.

Even one of the RCB players mentioned he felt a little sorry for the opposition bowlers. I guess there’s only one Chris Gayle. Alan Donald (former fast bowler for South Africa), coach for the Pune Warriors told ESPNcricinfo how during the timeouts he saw all the bowlers were scared to bowl to Gayle. I myself was pretty awestruck watching it live. You can catch the replay of the game here:

Royal Challengers Bangalore vs. Pune Warriors @ IPL 2013

Then, to wrap it off at the end of the Pune Warriors innings, Chris Gayle got to bowl the last over and picked up two wickets, he almost got a hat-trick but it wasn’t to be. You really can’t ask for anything more than that.

Chris Gayle dances Gangnam Style after taking a wicket against Mumbai Indians IPL 2013
Chris Gayle got to do Gangnam Style twice in his over.

I guess RCB has a really big chance of winning this year’s IPL. They’ve already got a lot of good players and then you have Gayle, it’s crazy stuff for RCB. I’m supporting the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), because Jacques Kallis is playing for them, watched them win their game last night. He did well with both bat and ball, a really great all rounder. KKR are in the bottom half of the table at the moment, but hopefully they’ll qualify for the playoffs.

Jacques Kallis for Kolkata Knight Riders against Kings XI Punjab IPL 2013

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