Gayle ton sinks Strikers
Royal Challengers Bangalore all rounder Chris Gayle slammed a brutal 54 ball 100* with a record breaking 11 sixes to help Sydney Thunder to a 6 wicket win against Adelaide Strikers in their Big Bash League encounter at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
Thanks to Gayle’s ton, Sydney Thunder chased down the 155/8 target set by the Adelaide Strikers in just 18.3 overs.
The Strikers won the toss and chose to bat first but lost skipper Michael Klinger early. Daniel Harris and Aiden Blizzard kept going with lusty big hitting but Adelaide slid from 46/1 in the sixth over to 55/4 in the ninth over, putting them in a hard position. Johan Botha and Cameron Borgas then joined hands to add 46 runs in the next six overs. More hitting from Adam Crosthwaite and Kane Richardson took them to a respectable 155/8.
The Sydney Thunder reply began slow but the loss of stand in skipper Daniel Smith in the fourth over did not impede their progress. In the absence of their first choice skipper David Warner, Gayle decided to tee off, hitting four sixes and two fours in the next five overs.
A succession of Thunder batsmen could make only small contributions, Usman Khawaja making 15 and Ben Dunk adding 8 but Gayle’s aggression kept Thunder in the chase. Local boy Craig Philipson found it hard to rotate strike and faced seven consecutive deliveries at one point. His dismissal for 2 off 8 balls in the 15th over with the score only 100 left Thunder facing an asking rate above 10 but Gayle finished the over with a six to ease the pressure.
New man in Jason Floros hit 11 runs off the next over before Gayle slammed 20 runs off the 17th over with three sixes to decisively tilt the game in Thunder’s favour. He brought up his ton, his fifth in the T20 format and first in Australia off the last ball of the 18th over, off just the 53rd ball he faced.
Gayle missed his chance to end the game in the next over with another six, managing only a leg bye to hand strike to Floros who finished the game with a swept four. The win meant Thunder are the only unbeaten team in the Big Bash League along with the Hobart Hurricanes.