Exiled West Indian batsman Chris Gayle yesterday indulged himself with an explosive, record hundred that catapulted the Sydney Thunder to a comfortable six-wicket victory over the Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash Twenty20 League on Friday.
The estranged West Indies opener smashed an impressive, even, undefeated 100, as Sydney successfully chased 156 for victory with nine deliveries remaining in front of a crowd of 11,337 people at the ANZ Stadium.
Gayle heaped further scorn on West Indies officials for ignoring him with an unprecedented 11 sixes, the most in a T20 on Australian soil, and three fours from 54 balls to give Sydney their second win in as many matches.
Jason Floros ushered the Thunder over the finish line however, when he swept the Strikers' South African imported off-spinner Johan Botha to deep fine leg for his third boundary.
Gayle also upstaged fellow West Indian Fidel Edwards, whose two wickets for 35 runs from his allotted four overs, helped the Thunder restrict the Strikers to 155 for eight from their allocation of 20 overs after choosing to bat.
Botha's 41 off 33 balls took the Strikers to a respectable total, but Gayle made short work of the chase, although Aaron O'Brien tried his best to keep Adelaide in the match, taking three for 26 in four overs.
Such was Gayle's domination of the innings, no other batsmen reached 20, with Floros' 17 not out the next best.
Gayle got into stride following a circumspect start with a drive over the top of cover for his first four off Kane Richardson in the third over.
He moved into gear with a cut through point for four and a "tennis-style" smash over long-on for his first six in Richardson's following over, the fifth of the innings.
From there, Gayle went into overdrive, picking off mostly sixes along the way, including three in succession off Cameron Borgas.
Gayle languidly punched the second ball of the off-spinner's only over — the 17th of the innings — over long-on, crunched the short, next delivery over mid-wicket, and lofted the following ball over long-off.
Ironically, he reached his milestone from 53 balls in tame fashion, pulling a short delivery from South African fast-medium bowler Alfonso Thomas through mid-wicket for a single by which time victory was within reach.
The Thunder face the Melbourne Renegades next Friday at Stadium Australia in this city.
Gayle has not played for West Indies since the World Cup earlier this year on the Asian sub-continent.
He has taken up playing in a number of T20 leagues around the World, particularly after he and the West Indies Cricket Board failed to settle a dispute, following a provocative interview he conducted with a radio station in his native Jamaica last April.
ADELAIDE STRIKERS 155 for eight off 20 overs (Johan Botha 41, Cameron Borgas 24, Aiden Blizzard 20; Sean Abbott 2-20, Fidel Edwards 2-35)
SYDNEY THUNDER 156 for four off 18.3 overs (Chris Gayle 100 not out; Aaron O'Brien 3-26).