Gayle fires Dhaka to place in final
Chris Gayle powered to his tenth Twenty20 hundred in Dhaka Gladiators' four-run victory over the Sylhet Royals yesterday to clinch a spot in the final of the Bangladesh Premier League.
Gayle, just off a disappointing one-day series in Australia with the West Indies, hammered 114 off just 51 balls as Dhaka reached 197 for nine in their allotted 20 overs.
But despite the huge target, the Royals gave spirited chase, and ultimately fell just short of the 24 runs they needed in the final over.
With five runs needed off the last ball, Elton Chigumbura swung Mashrafe Mortaza to deep midwicket, where Darren Stevens held the catch to seal Gladiators' berth in the final of the BPL.
Royals captain Mushfiqur Rahim had batted steadily for most of the chase, keeping his side on par with the Gladiators at the 10th and 15th-over marks. He had an 82-run stand with Dwayne Smith, who made 41, for the third wicket and added 46 runs with Nazmul Hossain Milon.
With 55 to defend in the last four overs, the Gladiators got two good overs from Alfonso Thomas and Shakib Al Hasan. Thomas bowled a good penultimate over to give his captain Mashrafe Mortaza 24 runs to defend in the 20th.
He nearly made a mess of it, bowling a crucial no-ball when Anamul Haque had caught Mushfiqur, who was eventually run out off the next ball for 86 off 44 balls. Chigumbura was dropped soon after by Raqibul Hasan at deep square leg but was not able to hit the final ball over the boundary.
The result validated Gladiators' last-minute buy —Gayle. The Jamaican hit 12 towering sixes. His ninth six was the longest in the tournament at 103 metres and it nearly reached the second tier of the stands behind long-on. It was the second hundred of the season, and the highest so far.
The Royals' fielders stood with hands on hips and necks craned, following the path of those big hits. They had been on top until the 10th over, having reduced the Gladiators to 64 for five.
The Gayle-Kieron Pollard partnership played out two quiet overs, but the West Indian pair got going in the 14th over, taking 24 off Suharwadi Shuvo. Gayle scored 23 of those, striking three sixes and a boundary. He smashed Nazmul Hossain Milon for 29 runs in the 17th over, and took 16 off Sajidul in the next, also bringing up his century.
The result meant the Royals will have to face the winners of the knockout match between Chittagong Kings and Duronto Rajshahi.