'Universe boss is here and alive'

Gayle first batsman to complete 10,000 runs in T20 cricket

'Universe boss is here and alive'

Placed at the bottom of the table ahead of their tie against the Gujarat Lions, the Royal Challengers Bangalore were further dealt a blow when their batting mainstay AB de Villiers had to pull out due to injury a few hours before the game.

Chris Gayle, an automatic choice to step in for de Villiers, cashed in on the opportunity. The Jamaican lit up the night for the visitors with a dazzling 77 from just 38 balls and RCB ended a three-match losing streak.

It was a big game for Gayle for more than one reason. The Challengers’ batting had flattered to deceive in the first five games and there was huge pressure on the senior batsman to lead from the front. Gayle’s own form was a big concern for RCB. The opener had squandered starts and looked off-colour in the earlier three games he had featured in, forcing the think tank to drop him for two matches.

With a lot at stake, Gayle was understandably cautious at the beginning. An edge down to third man in the fourth over of Basil Thampi saw him achieve a remarkable feat of becoming the first batsman to score 10,000 runs in the shortest format of the game. Showing no interest to celebrate the milestone, Gayle concentrated on the job at hand. Quite uncharacteristically, the Jamaican was seen running for risky ones and twos and stayed away from playing any big shots.

"Samuel Badree reminded me before the game and said 'Chris only three more runs to go, make sure you get it' so it was actually playing on my mind a bit," Gayle said of the record. "Once I crossed the line, I said, 'listen it's time to have a go and then it eventually paid off, so I am really happy to get the runs."

Once the spinners were introduced, Gayle took over the proceedings in a way only he can. Showcasing his famed big-hitting abilities, the veteran produced an array of shots, all with consummate ease. Such was the extent of the assault that the Gujarat bowlers failed to gain any control over the innings even after his dismissal. As he reached his fifty, in just 23 balls, the West Indies giant punched his bat and celebrated in style, showing what the knock meant to him.

"People are still looking out for Chris Gayle. The universe boss is still here and still alive," he said at the post-match presentation. "It was great fun. You know it's good to be back. I wanted this so badly, but first of all to get 10,000 runs, it was actually on my mind, so I'm glad to get that sort of achievement. It's a privilege to actually be the first person to get there. Hopefully I can continue entertaining the fans."

The special knock guided RCB to the highest total of the season (213/2) and proved why the Jamaican is one of the best T20 batsmen.

“Chris is the strongest and most powerful on these wickets and he can take any bowler down. AB was injured and for Chris to step up makes a huge difference,” said coach Daniel Vettori.

It was a bold decision to leave out Gayle earlier but Vettori said he knew the left-hander was capable of making a big contribution on his day. “Chris is a really proud man, he wants to do well for RCB, do well for any team he plays for. Today was his opportunity. We wanted him to play with freedom and we had given him the confidence,” he said.

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