Five days, three Rangpur Riders matches, three centuries and crucially two of those tons came from the Universe Boss himself -- Chris Gayle. And the latest of those centuries was good enough to see off defending champions Dhaka Dynamites in 1 one-sided final of the Bangladesh Premier League in Mirpur on Tuesday.
Gayle hammered an unbeaten 146 off 69 balls to take his side to a highly challenging 206-1 before the bowlers restricted the opposition to 149-9 as Mashrafe Bin Mortaza's side clinched their maiden BPL title.
Gayle's ominous innings was the highlight of the high-voltage final game as Dynamites succumbed under the storm.
Dynamites managed to reach 149 for the loss of nine wickets after they started the immensely difficult task of chasing down the Rangpur total of 206. Shakib Al Hasan's Dynamites lost two early wickets and that was to be the precursor of things to come. With the fall off Kieron Pollard, Dynamites lost four wickets inside five overs before Shakib Al Hasan came in and showed some promise. However, onece he fell to Nazmul Islam the game was almost well and truly over. Jahurul Islam had the only notable contribution as he struck a 38-ball 50 for the Dhaka side.
Spinners Nazmul and Sohag Gazi bagged two wickets each while medum pacer Isuru Udana also took two wickets.
The Dhaka Dynamites batsmen were always behind the eight-ball, with Jahurul Islam's 50 being the top score of the innings followed by skipper Shakib Al Hasan's 26.
Gayle had earlier paved the way for his franchise with an unbeaten 51-ball 126 in Friday’s Eliminator against Khulna Titans, before Johnson Charles helped the Riders zoom past Comilla Victorians with a ton of his own. But the best was saved for last as the Jamaican six machine hit an unbelievable 18 sixes – an eye-watering 16 of them in the last 10 overs – and only five fours. He broke his own record of most sixes in a T20 innings, going past the 17 he hit on way to the highest T20 score of an unbeaten 175 in the 2013 IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The other incredible facet of his innings was that at the end of the 10-over mark, he was on 34 off 28 balls. Thereafter he scored a further 112 runs in only 41 balls. Dhaka, however, had a chance to avoid such punishment when Gayle was on 22 and offered a straightforward chance to Dhaka skipper Shakib Al Hasan at extra cover off the bowling of Mosaddek Hossain in the sixth over, but Shakib spilled the chance.
The start was very promising from Dhaka as Shakib, after winning the toss, bowled a maiden in the second over and also took the wicket of Charles to leave Rangpur on five for one after two overs. What followed was a 201-run second-wicket stand between Gayle and Brendon McCullum, that also realised 75 runs in the last five overs.
It speaks to Gayle’s dominance that McCullum’s share in the partnership was 51 off 43 balls. The former New Zealand captain also refused singles in the last over, preferring to keep the strike with Gayle. It turned out to be a good ploy, as Gayle hammered Shakib for three sixes to take the score past 200.