On April 22, 2011, West Indies batting superstar Chris Gayle announced his arrival onto T20 cricket and became arguably the biggest batsman to have ever played the format. The 2011 IPL mega auctions brought with them a slew of surprises and one of them was that West Indies veteran Chris Gayle went unsold. Gayle's talent was unquestionable, but unsure of his ability to participate and score, teams chose to overlook the big man at the auctions.
As fate would have it, Chris Gayle was then called to RCB to replace injured Australian pacer Dirk Nannes and in his very first RCB match, Chris Gayle smashed 102* ironically against his former side, KKR at the Eden Gardens.
Chris Gayle came in to the RCB side during Match 24 of the IPL 2011. RCB captain Daniel Vettori won the toss and chose to bowl first at the Eden Gardens and the Knight Riders posted a competitive total of 172 for Bangalore to chase down. Chris Gayle came out to open with Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Both men looked too comfortable at the crease as Chris Gayle smashed around the KKR bowlers for fun. Soon enough, it was evident that RCB would be running away with the match in all probability. Dilshan and Gayle put on 123 for the first wicket after which the Sri Lankan was dismissed.
The young Virat Kohli then came in to bat as the target looked closer than ever. In the 18th over, Chris Gayle was stuck on the non-striker's end at 98 as RCB needed only six to win. Kohli smashed a boundary off Iqbal Abdulla and chose to not score for the rest of the over so that Gayle could get the strike and get to his hundred.
On the first ball of the 19th over, Chris Gayle slapped a loose delivery towards the off side and won RCB the match, bringing up his maiden IPL hundred in the process. Here are the highlights of the spectacular knock.
(Footage courtesy: BCCI)
This day was the beginning of the 'Gayle Storm'. Chris Gayle became a universal T20 megastar and tonked hundreds in almost every T20 tournament around the planet. Gayle scored another century later in the season when he made 107 against his current team Kings XI Punjab at Bangalore. Despite coming late into the IPL, Chris Gayle ended up scoring 608 runs in the 2011 season and taking home the Orange Cap.
Gayle also smashed 44 sixes in that IPL. His efforts helped RCB reach their second IPL final where they lost to CSK. Chris Gayle remained with RCB till IPL 2017 during which, he became a RCB legend. He scored five centuries for RCB, including his outlandish 175* in 2013. He is now a part of KXIP for the IPL 2020.