KOLKATA, April 22 (IANS): Chris Gayle smashed a blistering century as Royal Challengers Bangalore cruised to a nine-wicket victory against Kolkata Knight Riders in their Indian Premier League (IPL) match here Friday.
Gayle, playing his first IPL match this season, announced his arrival with a breathtaking array of strokes in his 55-ball unbeaten 102 that saw Bangalore chase down the tough target of 172 runs in 18.1 overs.
Gayle turned the match into a one-man show, hitting 10 fours and seven sixes, which means he got a staggering 82 runs off just 17 balls.
The explosive West Indies opener joined the Bangalore team following a spat with his cricket board over his participation in the IPL.
Gayle, who played for Kolkata in the first three seasons, went unsold in the auction but was roped in by Royal Challengers Bangalore as a replacement for injured fast bowler Dirk Nannes.
And Gayle paid back his team in his very first game. Royal Challengers badly needed a win, having lost four of their five matches. They have now two victories from six matches and are fifth in the points table. Kolkata are second with three wins and three losses.
It was also a dream opening combination as world cricket's two most explosive openers Gayle and Tillakaratne Dilshan took strike for Bangalore.
The devastating openers took the match away from Kolkata, scoring 123 runs in 12.1 overs.
With Gayle on fire and hitting the ball all over the park, Dilshan was happy to play second fiddle. The Sri Lankan scored 38 off 31 balls with six fours.
After Dilshan's dismissal, Virat Kohli (30) gave support to Gayle and also blocked a few balls in the end to allow Gayle complete his century.
Earlier, the Kolkata top order fired in unison to put up a challenging total after being asked to bat.
Jacqes Kallis (40) and Gautam Gambhir (48) added 58 runs in quick time for the second wicket, setting the stage for big-hitter Yusuf Pathan to chance his arms. Pathan scored 46 off 24 balls with three fours and three sixes.