DHAKA, Bangladesh – Reiterating his stature as an inimitable entertainer both on and off the field, Caribbean icon Chris Gayle has anointed himself as ‘the greatest batsman of all time’. Speaking to reporters in the aftermath of his barnstorming century in the 2017 Bangladesh Premier League final on Tuesday, the 38-year old also placed the astonishing knock among the top five centuries in his glowing Twenty20 career.
When asked if he was the Don Bradman of T20 cricket, Gayle came up with an even more fascinating response. He quipped: “I’m the greatest batsman of all time.”
Jamaican Gayle smashed an unbeaten 146 off 69 balls to lead Rangpur Riders to a pulsating win over Dhaka Dynamites.
He blasted a world record 18 sixes as he put on a BPL record 201 for the second wicket with New Zealander Brendon McCullum who lashed 51 not out off 43 deliveries.
Reflecting on his tremendous knock, the former West Indies captain said: “It is a big game, a big occasion. To actually stand out and get a century in a final, you actually look back and say well done.
“You tap yourself on the back. It is a winning effort as well, which makes it more special for me. I would put it in the top five (among his T20 tons) – certainly for the occasion as well. It is right up there.”
During the course of his spectacular knock, Gayle became the first batsman in the history of T20 cricket to amass 11,000 runs as well as 20 centuries.
In what was an incredible exhibition of six-hitting, Gayle also broke his own record for the most sixes registered in a T20 match.
When asked if he had seen someone better at sending the ball sailing into the stands, Gayle proclaimed fellow West Indies opener Evin Lewis as his successor and foretold the world to be wary of the 25-year old’s six-hitting prowess.
Interestingly, Gayle had gone unpicked in the 2018 Pakistan Super League (PSL) Draft held last month. With the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) auction not too far away, the veteran has sent a befitting message of his unmatched skills in the shortest format of the game.
Gayle’s knock came four days after he cracked 126 off 51 balls in an elimination final against the Khulna Titans, where he singlehandedly steered Rangpur through to the decider as he scored more than 73 per cent of his team’s runs as they chased down 168 with 28 balls to spare.
Having scored just two fifties in the tournament prior to the elimination final, Gayle finished as the leading BPL run-scorer, fashioning his 485 runs at an average of 53.88 and a momentous strike rate of 176.36.
Second on the run-scoring list was Lewis, who tallied 396 runs with a strike rate of 159.03 Dynamites.