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Any bowler worth his salt will admit that there are not many nightmares worse than bowling to Chris Gayle at his destructive best. Ask the Pune Warriors India bowlers who bore the brunt of the man’s murderous mood at Bengaluru as he smashed records after records to scorch his way to the highest individual score in T20 history.
Two PWI bowlers averaged more than 20 runs per over while another two went over 15 as Royal Challengers Bangalore amassed 265 in their 20 overs. In the same innings Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave away 23 runs in his four overs. The seven balls that Bhuvneshwar bowled to Gayle yielded 11 runs. Gayle scored his 175 runs at a strike-rate of 265.
While the young pacer was dejected with the team’s 130-run loss, his own disciplined performance gave him something to take away from the game. Bhuvneshwar spoke to iplt20.com after the match about his plan of bowling to Gayle and the team’s morale.
Was this the toughest test of your career so far – bowling to Chris Gayle?
Yes and no. As a team it was a tough match to play but individually for me it was good. We gave away 265 runs out of which I gave only 23 runs. That was satisfying for me.
You bowled seven balls to him and conceded just 11 runs. What was your plan bowling to him?
With the new ball I was trying to get him out because he’s that kind of batsman who can cover up later on even if you bowl some dots to him initially. In the death overs I just tried to keep him off strike so that I can bowl to the other batsman. I just tried to keep the ball away from his body so that he can take a single and get off strike.
Was this also a day when bowlers regretted becoming bowlers?
You can say that. When he bats like that nobody wants to bowl, especially on a wicket like this where the ball comes on well onto the bat. All I can say is that it’s tough luck for the bowlers if he decides to bat like that.
What was the discussion like in the team during the strategic timeouts?
During the first strategic timeout we just spoke of getting him out as soon as possible. But we couldn’t do that. We tried to do different things but he just kept hitting. Ishwar Pandey was playing his first match in this tournament and he went for 21 runs in the first over. He obviously became nervous and it happens when you’re playing against Gayle. We could have bowled better but then you never know.
How tough is it for a team to recover from such a shock?
It is very difficult, especially for us as we are going through a tough time. But all we can do as a team is stick together and keep backing each other. We’re trying to be as positive as we can and can only hope for the best from here.
It would obviously have been tough as a bowling side. But merely as a watcher, did you enjoy the knock?
Not really. When you’re in the bowling side you never enjoy it if some batsman is hitting you or your bowlers like that. I would have enjoyed it if I was watching it on TV.
263: Royal Challengers Bangalore’s total – highest ever in Twenty20 cricket. Previous highest was Sri Lanka’s 260 for six against Kenya at Johannesburg in 2007. Previous highest in an IPL game was Chennai Super Kings’ 246 for five against Rajasthan Royals in 2010.
175: Chris Gayle’s innings is the highest ever in all Twenty20 cricket, surpassing Brendon McCullum’s 158* for Kolkata Knight Riders against Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2008.
167: Runs added by Chris Gayle and Tillakaratne Dilshan – highest opening partnership in IPL history. Mumbai Indians’ Sachin Tendulkar and Dwayne Smith had added 163 runs without being separated against Rajasthan Royals in 2012. 130: Victory margin for Royal Challengers Bangalore – second biggest in IPL. Kolkata Knight Riders had beaten Bangalore side by 140 runs in very first IPL game in 2008. 53: Number of balls taken by Gayle to race to his 150 - fastest in Twenty20 cricket.
30: Number of balls taken by Gayle to race to his hundred – fastest in Twenty20 cricket. Andrew Symonds held the previous record with a 34-ball hundred for Kent against Middlesex in Twenty20 Cup in 2004. Incidentally the previous fastest IPL hundred had come off Yusuf Pathan’s bat – off 37 balls – while playing for Rajasthan Royals against Mumbai Indians in 2010.
29: Runs conceded by Aaron Finch in his only over (eighth of the innings) - most expensive in IPL2013. The fifth over of the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s innings – bowled by Mitchell Marsh – produced 28 runs.
17: Sixes hit by Gayle are the most in an innings in a Twenty20 match. Graham Napier had hit 16 sixes for Essex vs Sussex in Twenty20 Cup in 2008. The previous record of most sixes in an IPL match was shared by Brendon McCullum and Chris Gayle with 13 sixes.
15.5: Overs taken by Royal Challengers Bangalore to race to 200 – fastest in IPL history. Chennai Super Kings had taken 16.5 overs against Rajasthan Royals while scoring IPL’s previous highest total in 2010.
11: Number of hundreds scored by Chris Gayle in Twenty20 format – most by any batsman. David Warner and Brendon McCullum are distant second with five hundreds each. 7.5: Overs taken by Royal Challengers Bangalore to race to their hundred – fastest in IPL history. Royal Challengers Bangalore also held the previous record with 8.2 overs against Kochi Tuskers Kerala in 2011.
7: Number of sixes conceded by Mitchell Marsh in the match – most by any bowler in an IPL match. James Hopes (in 2008), M Muralitharan (in 2010) and Ashish Nehra (in 2010) had conceded 6 sixes in a match.
4: Number of hundreds scored by Chris Gayle in IPL- most by any batsman. David Warner, Murali Vijay and Adam Gilchrist have hit two hundreds each.