Indian Premier League 2017
Gayle will 'hang his hat' on T20 record
Ricky Ponting discusses the strengths and weaknesses of Chris Gayle after the West Indian reached 10,000 T20 runs during RCB’s latest IPL win
19 April 2017, 03:10 PM AEST
Ricky Ponting says T20 superstar Chris Gayle will "hang his hat" on his latest achievement, with the big-hitting Jamaican becoming the first man to post 10,000 runs in the game's shortest format.
Gayle, who made 77 from 38 balls for Royal Challengers Bangalore in their match against Gujarat Lions on Tuesday night, is nearly 2,500 runs clear of his nearest rival – Black Caps legend Brendon McCullum.
"He'll hang his hat on that (achievement), as he should," Ponting told cricket.com.au.
"He's played more T20 cricket in the last five or six years than he has other forms of the game, but he's dominated the game pretty much everywhere he's been.
"Congratulations to him, it's a fantastic achievement."
Ponting said that Gayle's feats in the Twenty20 world had long overshadowed his accomplishments in Test and ODI cricket, which remain particularly impressive.
Among other records in his 103-Test, 269 ODI and 50 T20I career, the 37-year-old can lay claim to being one of only four batsmen to have posted two Test triple hundreds, while he is the only player in history to have scored a Test triple hundred, an ODI double hundred and a T20I hundred.
"The man has got a Test triple hundred as well so it's hasn't always been just about T20 cricket," Ponting offered.
"He's got a pretty good one-day record and we probably forget about how much Test cricket he played – he's played 100 Tests.
"He's played a lot of cricket and there's probably a lot of negativity around about him probably not playing as much Test cricket for the West Indies as a lot of people would have liked, but at the end of the day he's had a long and distinguished career and when he's finished he'll be pretty happy with it."
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Ponting, who played and coached against Gayle in the IPL during the Australian's time with Mumbai Indians, said there was little point bowling spin at the tall left-hander, who invariably found a way to score quickly against whatever strategy was employed against him.
"Some of the things we would do with him at Mumbai, while he was in we would just bowl our fastest bowlers until he got out," he explained.
"We weren't going to bowl spin at him.
"We'd have (Mitch) Johnson, we'd have (Lasith) Malinga … (Mitch) McClenaghan, we'd have all three going for as long as it took to get him out.
"Because as soon as you expose spin to him, you can guarantee that the first over is going for 20-plus.
"That's just the way he plays.
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"And he'd target those spinners; he'd block Malinga's first two or three overs, not even look to score, and wait for the spin to come on.
"So we'd try and drag that out and get lots of dot balls on him when we could with our fast bowlers and make it harder for him to end up striking at 300.
"Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
"And more often than not during his career, he's had the better of most teams that he's played against."
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In the Test arena, Ponting's Australians encountered much the same problems against the West Indian, who scored hundreds in Adelaide and Perth in consecutive Tests in the 2009-10 series.
The second of those was a whirlwind 70-ball effort – then the fifth-fastest in Test history.
"He hits the ball so far, so hard and so easily," Ponting said. "He stands very steady at the crease, he's a big tall guy so we tried lots of things with him.
"We tried to bowl really wide and get outside his arc and get outside his natural swing plane, but because he's so tall he can still tend to reach them with the wide line and hit them back down the ground.
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"We challenged him with some short balls ... we had Mitchell Johnson really getting up him a couple of games.
"That worked to a certain degree, but you just know with him if he gets any sort of bat on it, the ball's flying and it's going over the fence. So it's a line.
"He made a brilliant hundred in Perth off (70) balls and it was the same thing over there; he got through Johnson early on, got through (Shane) Watson with the newish ball and then Nathan Hauritz came on and it was just fruit for the grandstand, really.
"He was just hitting effortless sixes down the ground, so it just goes to show that he can do it in all forms of the game."
CHRIS GAYLE'S BEST
West Indies v South Africa, 2007 World T20 – 117 off 57 balls
It only took a Gayle masterclass in the first-ever World T20 match for all of South Africa's nightmares about major tournaments to come flooding back, and another 90 minutes for them to be quickly erased (albeit temporarily). After Graeme Smith sent the West Indies into bat in the opening match of the inaugural tournament, the belligerent left-hander savaged a brilliant century to stun the packed Wanderers crowd and leave the Proteas skipper to ponder whether he'd made a terrible mistake. Gayle hit a then T20 record of 10 sixes and seven fours, bringing up his century midway through the 15th over and mercifully departing with 20 balls still remaining. But Smith had no need to worry as Herschelle Gibbs (90no from 55 balls) and Justin Kemp (46no from 22 balls) – plus an astonishing 23 wides from the West Indies – undid Gayle's work and guided the home side to an extraordinary win with 14 balls and eight wickets to spare.
Royal Challengers Bangalore v Pune Warriors, 2013 Indian Premier League – 175 off 66 balls
Who else but Christopher Henry Gayle should hold the record for both the fastest-ever T20 century and the highest T20 score? The left-hander put on a clinic in the sixth edition of the IPL, amassing an improbable, unthinkable yet incredible 175no in a single T20 innings. The carnage started in the second over when the brutish left-hander spanked five fours off the bowling of Ishwar Pandey. Deprived of the strike by Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dlishan, Gayle took his frustration out on Australian allrounder Mitchell Marsh, who conceded four sixes and a four from his first over that cost 28 runs. At this point, Gayle had arrived at his half-century in just 17 deliveries. Three overs later the Jamaican repeated the damage, this time to another Australian in Aaron Finch, who was also smacked for 28. In the ninth over Gayle launched Ashok Dinda out of the stadium to bring up his century in just 30 balls – the fastest ever in T20 cricket. After taking a few overs to compose himself, he took 26 off the 15th over and combined with AB de Villiers for a quick-fire partnership of 44 from 15 balls. He finished the innings undefeated on 175 in a team total of 5-263. In reply, Pune were bowled out for 133, with Gayle capturing 2-5 from one over. A fair day out.
Somerset v Kent, England domestic T20 tournament 2015 – 151 off 62 balls
Incredibly, this display of fireworks at the postage stamp of Taunton in England's south-west wasn't enough to get Somerset a victory in a domestic T20 clash. The power-hitter struck 10 fours and 15 sixes but the hosts still fell short three runs short of Kent's 227. Gayle made the most of the life he was given on 46 when he was dropped by Kent's Joe Denly, who summed up the situation perfectly on social media after the match when he tweeted, 'Note to self: DO NOT DROP CHRIS GAYLE ON 40!!!!!!' But his stunning hundred was in vain, as his teammates could only muster 73 runs between them, with Somerset's next best James Hildreth scoring 29 off 24 balls.
Melbourne Renegades v Adelaide Strikers, BBL|05 (2016) – 56 off 17 balls
He already had the fastest T20 ton, and Gayle equalled Yuvraj Singh's record for the fastest half-century in a stunning knock that nearly singlehandedly propelled the Renegades to an improbable victory. With his side needing the target of 171 from 16 overs in order to qualify for the finals, Gayle simply exploded, hitting four successive sixes in the first over of the innings from youngster Greg West. The assault continued in the third over, Gayle taking 22 from Ben Laughlin to take himself to 44 from 10 deliveries. It meant he needed a six to equal the world record for the fastest T20 fifty, set by Yuvraj Singh at the 2007 T20 World Cup against England, and he duly delivered, depositing Travis Head over the long-on rope. But the off-spinner claimed the key scalp of Gayle soon, ending a whirlwind 17-ball blitz.
West Indies v England, 2016 World T20 – 100* off 48 balls
It was only a matter of time before the irresistible force that is Gayle got going in last year's showpiece international T20 event. On his way to scoring an unbeaten 100 and condemning England to a six-wicket group-stage defeat, he became the leading six-hitter in T20 international cricket. It seemed incredible he didn't already hold the record. At the start of his innings he was four sixes behind Brendon McCullum's record, by the end of it he was seven ahead. Gayle typically begun slowly – seven of his first nine balls were dots but a sensational display of hitting followed as he raced to triple-figures off just 47 balls, becoming the first player to score two WT20 tons. Even more impressively, he called it before the match even started!
Jamaica Tallawahs v Trinbago Knight Riders, 2016 Caribbean Premier League – 108*off 54 balls
This was the 'Universe Boss' at his calculated, explosive best. In pursuit of the Knight Riders' imposing 191, Gayle, as has become his custom, begun slowly. He took just 30 off his first 25 balls, initially tied down by the miserly Sunil Narine. But, requiring 12 an over at the halfway point of the Tallawah's innings, Gayle unleashed. He plundered 59 runs off his next 13 deliveries (4,6,6,1,6,6,4,1,6,1,6,6,6) with Trinbago bowlers Sulieman Benn, Kevon Cooper and Javon Scantlebury-Searles bearing the brunt of the Jamaican's brute force. Gayle brought up his ton (off just 49 balls) with a six over long-off and managed another – his 11th maximum of the innings – off Dwayne Bravo to finish not out on 108 as the Tallawahs cruised home in the penultimate over. It was a classic Gayle knock, both brutal and measured in equal parts.