DHAKA, Bangladesh – Chris Gayle scored his 19th Twenty20 hundred as Rangpur Riders trounced Barbadian Carlos Brathwaite’s Khula Titans by eight wickets, and take a giant stride towards the final of the Bangladesh Premier League yesterday.
The West Indies batting star smashed 126 not out – the highest score in the BPL – to eliminate the Titans and power Rangpur Riders into the second qualifier.
This was the first hundred of the season, Gayle’s fourth in the BPL, and 19th overall in T20 cricket. Khulna, whose young guns have been quite impressive, wilted in face of the six-laden onslaught.
Gayle packed his 51-ball innings with 14 sixes and six fours, helping Rangpur hunt down 168 with 28 balls to spare. His 14 sixes was a new BPL record; Gayle bettered his own record of 12 sixes he had hit for Dhaka Gladiators in 2013.
Riders reached their target in the 16th over when the let-handed Gayle blasted sixes off the first two deliveries form off-spinner Nazmul Hossain.
Earlier, Titans reached 167 for six off their 20 overs as West Indies left-hander Nicholas Pooran scored 28 and Brathwaite, 25 not out.
Opener Nazmul (15) kick-started the Titans innings with three fours in eight balls before falling to an unnecessary hoick against Sohag Gazi in the fourth over.
Afif Hossain (11) drove his first ball over cover for four and slapped a six four balls later,but was bowled by fast bowler Lasaith Malinga in the following over.
The trend continue when captain Mahmudullah struck two sixes and two fours in his six-ball 20 before holing out to long-on. Khulna were 56 for three at that stage.
Pooran and Ariful Haque (29) then added 40 for the fifth wicket at a run rate of eight to perk up the side. The stand ended when Ariful fell in the 17th over for 29.
Brathwaite then continued his excellent form, taking 17 runs off Malinga in the 18th over, including a muscular six over extra cover. Malinga, though, flummoxed Pooran with a slower full-toss with the first ball of the last over.
Gayle teed off with a brace of sixes but Barbadian fast bowler Jofra Archer removed Gazi and Brendon McCullum in the third over to leave Rangpur at 25 for two.
From thereon, it was the Gayle show.
Thr 38-year-old Gayle was severe on Archer, taking him for 20 runs in the fifth over, including a straight six. Abu Jayed was also hit down the ground in the next over before Mohammad Irfan’s legbreaks were deposited for two sixes in the seventh over – the first of which brought up a fifty off 23 balls.
Gayle did not spare his West Indies team-mate Brathwaite too as Rangpur surged towards the target.
He went onto bring up a 45-ball hundred when he worked Mahmudullah to deep midwicket for a single in the 14th over.