'Universe Boss' in record form
DHAKA, Bangladesh (CMC):
Superstar Chris 'Universe Boss' Gayle crunched a world record 18 sixes and passed 11,000 runs in Twenty20s, as he struck his second hundred in three innings to fire Rangpur Riders to a convincing 57-run win over Dhaka Dynamites and to the capture of the 2017 Bangladesh Premier League title.
Fresh off an unbeaten century against Khulna Titans last Friday, the left-handed Gayle sustained that momentum with an astonishing 146 not out as Riders, sent in at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, raised 206 for one off their 20 overs.
The Jamaican hammered five fours and a staggering 18 sixes - the most by any batsman in a T20 innings - en route to a 20th T20 career hundred and a record fifth in the BPL.
Importantly, he put on a remarkable 201 for the second wicket with New Zealander Brendon McCullum who slammed his second straight half-century with an unbeaten 51 off 43 deliveries.
In reply, Dynamites slipped early to 29 for four in the fifth over and never recovered, eventually ending on 149 for nine off their 20 overs.
Jahurul Islam top-scored with 50 off 38 balls, but West Indies stars Evin Lewis (15), Sunil Narine (14) and Kieron Pollard (5) all failed.
However, the final had earlier turned into the Gayle show once opening partner and Windies teammate, Johnson Charles, perished cheaply for three in the second over.
Capitalising on a chance on 22 when he was dropped by Shakib-al-Hasan at cover in the sixth over, the 38-year-old Gayle tore into the Dynamites bowling with relish.
He started quietly, with his first 16 runs requiring 13 balls but exploded in the sixth over with a pair of sixes off Mosaddek Hossain, as the off-spinner's third over leaked 19 runs.
Gayle reached his half-century off 33 balls in the 11th over by taking 18 runs off the first over from rookie seamer Khaled Ahmed and then raced to three figures off another 24 deliveries.
Along the way, he took a turn in veteran leg-spinner Shahid Afridi and combined with MCullum to pummel slow medium Pollard for 24 runs from his second over - the 18th of the innings.
All told, Riders plundered 64 runs from the last three overs of the innings with Gayle belting 19 runs - including three sixes - off the final six balls from left-arm spinner Shakib.
The only bowler to escape punishment was off-spinner Narine whose four overs cost a mere 18 runs.