The season of Gayle storm!

The season of Gayle storm!

The season of Gayle storm!

Following a tumultuous 2010 season, the Indian Premier League headed into the fourth edition of the event but the move to include two new teams -- Pune Warriors and Kochi Tuskers Kerala -- after much discord, backfired.

While two previous editions had 59 matches (2008 and 2009) and the 2010 event had 60 matches, the 2011 season swelled into 74 matches, and it seemed to have a direct effect on the fans.

The crowd continued to dwindle during the course of tournament and the TV ratings too slipped, but there was one factor that kept everyone glued to the screens despite everything: Chris Gayle.

Following a lot of uncertainty regarding his availability due to a disagreement with the West Indies Cricket Board, the Jamaican arrived at the Royal Challengers Bangalore camp five matches late.

Facing his former side -- Kolkata Knight Riders -- at their home ground, the southpaw smashed an unbeaten 102 from 55 balls with 10 fours and seven sixes to make his mark but he was in no mood to stop there.

Gayle’s opening statement seemed a flash in the pan especially after he was dismissed cheaply in his second game but he returned to his run-scoring ways soon. Gayle continued to hammer his way into the record books as he scored a massive 608 runs from 12 innings at an average of 67.55 and a strike rate of 183.13 with two hundreds and three fifties.

Gayle storm spurred RCB into the finals for the second time and this time they were up against MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings, the defending champions. Choosing to bat, CSK got off to a stunning start with Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay forging a 159-run partnership for the opening-wicket and with Dhoni adding a quickfire 22, the hosts reached 205 for five.

Under most circumstances, it would have been a daunting task but RCB had Gayle and all they needed to grab the title was for him to fire. Much to RCB’s dismay, it was not to be.
As if struck by the Law of Averages, Gayle walked back to the dug-out without disturbing the scorers, and at that moment the game was as good as over for RCB.

Virat Kohli and Saurabh Tiwary tried their hand at saving the ship but with the biggest chunk of its hull blown away within minutes of the battle, the only way was down.

Brief scores (final): Chennai Super Kings: 205/5 in 20 overs (Michael Hussey 63, Murali Vijay 95; Sreenath Arvind 2-39, Chris Gayle 2-34) bt Royal Challengers Bangalore: 147/8 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 35, Saurabh Tiwary 42 n.o.; R Ashwin 3-16, Shadab Jakati 2-21).