The week was almost cruel. I was as exhausted as I could have been for a long while. My eyes refused to open this morning. ( Each one has a tiredness quotient and mine hit one of the all time highs last evening and continued this morning!). However, I was going to witness my first IPL match this season and I didn't want to miss that chance.
Cut straight to the stadium on a hot hot Sunday afternoon: The match was between RCB and Kochi Tuskers Kerala with the team from Kerala choosing to bat first. It was a mixed innings with no batsman getting going on to get a decent sized score and as a result , they ended up setting a target of just around 130 for the RCBians . Now ,RCB this season struggled at the started, losing 3 games in a row and they haven't looked back since Christopher Gayle joined them. Out walked the batsmen to massive roars from the crowd and Gayle took strike. The first 5 balls of the RP Singh over were on the money and Gayle respected the bowling. As the twilight approached, we saw the first six of the 6th ball of the innings . An unmistakable TONK from Gayle's bat deposited the ball into the standsd. What was the score ? 1 over - 8 runs.
2nd over - It was Dilshan's turn. He swept , charged and slogged his way to an impressive 20 runs off the 2nd over of Ramesh Powar. The crowd celebrated loudly with the waving of flags and dancing to the "Dhinka Chika" song in the background.The cheer girls were definitely kept busy during that over. But the one man who silently applauded from the non-striker's end was Mr Gayle himself.
What was the score then ? 2 overs - 28 runs. Amazing start you might say and so did we at that stage!
3rd over - Mahela Jayawardene made probably the biggest tactical move of the game to bring in the young Sreesanth crazy Prashanth Paramesvaran. Parameswaran was the man of the match in Kochi's previous game and was being touted as the next fast bowler to reckon with. But who was he bowling to today? Christopher Gayle.
1st ball - BANG - KABOOM - 6 runs . The Calypso man hammered the ball to the cover stands for a solid six. We did the Gayle Train dance and what did we want? We wanted more of that!!!
2nd ball - Parameswaran(PP for short) charged in and BOOM - this time a flatter SIX over covers and guess what ? This turned out to be a no-ball. I have no idea what went through PP's head. Several players ran to him to calm him down. The electronic score board flashed " SIX SIXES ??? " and there was tremendous amount of expectation from the crowd now!
Out came the 2nd ball (version 2 though) , which incidentally was a free hit. Gayle, of all people, doesn't miss the free hit does he ? Ofcourse he doesn't . BOOM - hammered but this time for a meager 4 runs through mid wicket. To a viewer, this almost seemed like a lollypop. Surely PP wasn't trying to bounce out Gayle with his pace!!!!
Time for the 3rd ball - The off side was packed but Gayle being Gayle, thrashed it across the offside between the umpteen fielders there for yet another 4! So we had 6 6 4 4 along with a no - ball . The crowd was delirious. My friends and I did done every dance we were aware of and shouted our guts out. I realised suddenly that in a matter of 3-4 balls, my voice completely disappeared. What was my next best "celebration move" ? JUMP and that I began!!! All this with still 3 balls remaining in that over.
4th ball - PP runs in for the 4th legal delivery. What's the result ? SIX !!! Gayle smashed it out of the ground . The Kochi fielders' were almost smiling. Even the cheer leaders were tired and they wanted a break . PP probably wanted to quit cricket at that moment! But he had 2 more balls to bowl in that over! There was absolute chaos and pandemonium in the stadium.
5th ball - By now everyone was sure that this was going to be a six. Most importantly Gayle knew it as well! No surprises then! He doesn't disappoint ,the Calypso man! The ball is yet again in the radar and he launched it ! Tonk ! Boom ! SIX!
Celebrations reached the limit with that shot. People began hugging strangers. There were more sore throats in the stadium than in any other place in Karnataka. Everyone was ready to adopt Chris Gayle as the next "Mannina maga"!!! Oh and by the way , 6th ball still remained!
6th ball - Kochi guys just wanted to get done with the over. PP ran in , results in an inside edge , results in another 4! Basically PP and Gayle together, did the unthinkable! The over went for 37 runs ! Can you believe that ??? Scoreboard read 3 overs 66 runs!
It was almost as if, Dilshan challenged Gayle with his 20 run histrionics over. Gayle, with his Calypso coolness , must have thought "Dude, now that was good, but let me show you what hitting is all about!" The 3rd over was the result of that. Absolute Mayhem . 37 runs in a single over!!!! Both of them will now go down in the annals of IPL history along with Mahela who made that move!
What happened next ? The original Mannina Maga but the new brother of Slinga Malinga castled Gayle and there was absolute silence in the ground. The match would have ended before the 10th over had Gayle stayed here! Kohli and Dilshan hit a few fours but the celebrations were muted. The crowd had seen something remarkable, out of the world and now , things had restored back to normalcy, with singles( Gayle would have said "What singles ma man when I can tonk them ova"!) and occasional boundaries. Dilshan completed a very well deserved half century but he would also know deep inside, very very deep inside, that his innings faded in comparison that Gayle brought with him.
RCB won in the 13th over. The crowd at the Chinnaswamy Stadium would have told you that they wanted to walk away after the InterGayleactic effect hit the stadium situated on MG road! What a player! What an innings! Holy mother of Jesus.