Reed on IPL: Gayle in a league of his own.

Royal Challengers Bangelore's Chris Gayle struggled, but his team picked him up. (AP/A.M. Ahad)
April 25, 2013, 3:10 PM

Unfair. That’s the only word to describe it.

To even things up perhaps he should be somewhat incapacitated. A blindfold might work or maybe he should be forced to hold the bat upside down, but chances are Chris Gayle would still be able to hoist sixes with the handle.

There isn’t a bowler in the world that can stop the Gayle-storm in full flow. There is no captain on the planet that can set a field to restrict his power. The superlatives have all been used to describe the towering Jamaican, only for him to rewrite history and have us scrambling for more.

We might never see this again. Even by his own exceptional standards, Gayle’s supreme effort for the Royal Challengers Bangalore against the Pune Warriors was a monstrous inning. It was so good he might even have surprised himself.

The stats are truly off the charts. The fastest century in T20 history was compiled from just 30 deliveries. Gayle would go on to blast an unbeaten 175 – the highest individual score in this format featuring a record 17 sixes. He was also the major contributor to the highest ever T20 team total of 263.

It is tough to imagine any of those new high watermarks being bettered by anyone, anytime soon – not even by Gayle himself. He didn’t just break the existing records – he completely obliterated them in 102 minutes of fantasy cricket.

There is something the numbers will never tell you: There is no statistical way of measuring enjoyment or satisfaction. Figures cannot explain the physical and mental process necessary to make something so seemingly impossible look so outrageously simple. Only the really gifted athlete knows the secret.

Then there is the appreciation factor. As Gayle sunk to his knees on completing his century, everyone knew this was something extra special. When it was over the standing ovation was matched on the field as shattered fielders queued up to pay their respects and shake his enormous hand.

There is no question Chris Gayle enjoys his work. His big, broad smile reminds us that he doesn’t take life, or himself, too seriously. He exudes confidence when he’s out in the middle – a man certain of his own phenomenal talent and his ability to intimidate even the most seasoned bowler. Being made to look like a local club amateur can be extremely disconcerting.

Records were made to be broken. However, unless Superman or The Bionic Man take up cricket in the foreseeable future, Gayle’s latest collection will surely stand the test of time.

On the subject of records, Sachin Tendulkar added a new milestone to his lengthy list of achievements. The Little Master marked his 40th birthday with a huge bat-shaped birthday cake and the gratitude of a nation.

The celebration was bitter sweet though, as Tendulkar was clean bowled by the ever-impressive Sunil Narine, who was barely a toddler when Tendulkar made his Test debut in 1989. Narine had the cheek to remove his legendary opponent for just two and increase his lead in the race for the Purple Cap.

The Indian legend had the last laugh. Mumbai went onto defeat Kolkata in a crucial game for the 2012 champions and as he blew out the candles on his cake, KKR’s dream of defending its IPL title was also expunged.

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