Gayle’s 126 from 51 balls powers Riders to victory

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(Sportsmax) Chris Gayle finally delivered a Gayle-storm performance in the Bangladesh Premier League that blew the Khulna Titans out of the competition.

Gayle smashed a 51-ball 126 that powered the Rangpur Riders to an eight-wicket win and a place in the second qualifier.

The whirlwind knock included 14 sixes, a new BPL record, bettering his own mark of 12 sixes set in 2013 when he played for the Dhaka Gladiators. He also hit six fours during his destructive knock as the Riders rushed to 171 for 2 off 15.2 overs.

Earlier, Nicolas Pooran smashed a 22-ball 28 and Carlos Brathwaite 25 from 9 to propel the Titans to 167 for 6 off their 20 overs. The total represented a turnaround from a potentially disastrous 56 for 3.

Opener Nazmul Hossain Shanto opened the innings for the Titans with three fours in eight balls before getting out trying to slog Sohag Gazi in the fourth over.

Afif Hossain drove his first ball over cover for four, then smashed a six four balls later before was bowled by Lasith Malinga the following over.

Mahmudullah was next to go after he struck two sixes and two fours in his 6-ball 20, before holing out to long-on.

Pooran and Ariful Haque staged a bit of a rescue act putting on 40 at eight an over for the fifth wicket.

Ariful was dismissed in the 17th over for his team’s top score of 29 and set the stage for Brathwaite’s onslaught that included him taking 17 off Malinga in the 18th over.

However, the Sri Lankan struck back trapping Pooran leg before for 28 with a slower full toss and gave away just one boundary to restrict the Titans to 167 for 9. He finished with 2 for 49 off his four overs.

When the Riders went out to bat, Gayle got going with two massive sixes but his side suffered early setbacks when Jofra Archer (2 for 30) removed Gazi and Brendon McCullum in the third over to leave Rangpur at 25 for 2.

Gayle then took matters into his own hands. He clobbered Archer for 20 runs in the fifth over and then abused Abu Jayed in the next over with a straight hit down the ground before Mohammad Irfan’s leg breaks were deposited for two sixes in the seventh over – the first of which brought up a 50 off 23 balls. Gayle did not spare his West Indies team-mate, Brathwaite, either, as Rangpur surged towards the target.

He went on to bring up a 45-ball hundred when he worked Mahmudullah to deep midwicket for a single in the 14th over. He finished the chase when he slammed Shanto for back-to-back sixes in the 16th over.

Almost unnoticed at the other end was Mohammed Mithun, who quietly scored 30 from 33 balls.

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