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Chris Gayle scores 18th T20 ton, inspires Jamaica Tallawahs to sensational win over Trinbago Knight Riders

Gayle finished at 108*(54). He had hit 11 sixes and 4 fours

Chris Gayle hit eleven sixes on way to his 18th T20 ton

Jamaica Tallawahs claimed a victory over Trinbago Knight Riders in the Caribbean Premier League on the back of a special exhibition put up by Chris Gayle, who went berserk for a while in the match, undoing the good work put on by Sunil Narine, Hashim Amla and the rest of the Knight Riders. Chasing 192, the Tallawahs won by 7 wickets with 2.4 overs to spare, but things had looked to be heading in the opposite direction for the largest part of the match.

The Tallawahs were chasing 22 runs more than they had ever scored in the second innings of a match, and 28 runs more than their highest successful run chase, but when Chris Gayle is at the crease, the bounds of impossibility disappear.

The Trinbago Knight Riders had put on a massive score, with all their top order overseas players finding good form. Brendon McCullum departed after a quickfire 18-ball 35, but Hashim Amla and Colin Munro made sure thee were to be no further hiccups in their batting innings. There were chances to be had, especially off the unsure bat of Munro in the first stages, but no wicket was forthcoming till the 17th over, with the score already at 152.

Imad Wasim (1/18 in 3 overs) was the best Tallawahs bowler, with everybody else functioning on the day at an economy rate in excess of 8. Particularly miserable was Dale Steyn’s day, who bowled 4 wides and conceded 56 runs in four overs.

The Tallawahs started off the chase tentatively, with Gayle looking quite panicky in the powerplay overs. Sunil Narine was proving to be especially unplayable, the ball spinning a mile in front of the bemused batsmen. Kumar Sangakkara showed positive intent, but also found it difficult to score freely. With the asking rate inching up, the Tallawahs received another blow with Narine bowling him out.

A change of mode in the 11th over for Gayle upturns match

As Andre Russell came out in the 10th over, crisis was looming. They had managed to score only 69 runs of the 192 required, and half of the innings was over. But Russel’s introduction had an effect on Gayle, who seemed to become a changed batsman at this stage.

In the first 10 overs, Gayle had scored 30 runs off 25 balls. In the 11th over, Gayle launched himself into the Caribbean night sky. That over went for 19 runs. The 12th over went for 22. Suddenly, 80 runs were required off 48 balls, and the tables had turned. Suleiman Benn’s 13th over yielded 30 runs, including four sixes off Gayle’s bat, who pushed his score to 89(38) – 59 runs nonchalantly piled up in 13 balls at a strike rate of 455.

With the equation brought down to achievable proportions, Gayle quitened down a little. There was considerable drama leading to his century. With his score at 94, he found the deep mid-wicket fielder with a lofted shot on the last ball of the 16th over. However, as Gayle walked back disappointedly and the Tallawah dugout bore a devastated look, the replays showed that the bowler Ronsford Beaton had bowled a huge no-ball.

Called back, Gayle smashed the rebowled ball over the bowler’s head and brought out the baby cradling celebration to mark his 18th T20 century. Incidentally, the next highest number of T20 centuries is Brendon McCullum’s 7.

The winning runs were hit in the 18th over, as the Jamaica Tallawahs won with 16 balls to spare – something that had seemed impossible after the first 10 overs. Gayle finished at 108*(54). He had hit 11 sixes and 4 fours. With this score, he has overtaken Lendl Simmons as the highest scorer in CPL history. Full Scorecard

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