Chris Gayle swings that willow, Chris Gayle hits sixes; and when Chris Gayle hits sixes, bowlers weep, fans, barring the opposition team's supporters, rejoice, and RCB win.
On a day Brendon McCullum played one of the most wonderful IPL knocks in history, Gayle reminded the world of his undoubted talents in T20 cricket as well, playing a stunning, boundary-laden knock of 96 (56b, 7x4, 7x6) to guide the Royal Challengers Bangalore to the most thrilling of IPL 2015 victories over defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders.
The Eden Gardens were readying another party as their KKR side got off to a tremendous start with the bat via Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir, before Andre Russell finished the innings off in some style to post a formidable 177/6 in their 20 overs.
The reply needed one of Virat Kohli, AB De Villiers or Gayle to go ballistic and it was the turn of the Jamaican, with that wickedly-good willow of his to do the talking and the tonking to stunning effect.
KKR had their chances to get the great man out, but they did not take them with Morne Morkel, the man of the match from the last game, grassing a couple, and when you drop Gayle, he makes you pay.
It all looked like going pear-shaped for RCB when AB De Villiers, after a typically outrageous 28 (13b, 3x4, 2x6), was stumped off the bowling of the IPL debutant KC Cariappa, but Gayle took over once the South African fell, and how.
RCB were 93/4 in 11 overs when De Villiers was forced to walk back to the pavilion, needing another 85 runs from the last nine overs, and most of those runs rested on the shoulders of the two West Indians -- Gayle and new recruit Darren Sammy. Sammy, though, threw his wicket away after losing his patience with the singles, leaving it all for Gayle to do, since RCB had gone into the match with five bowlers.
Sean Abbott and Harshal Patel were mere spectators at the other end as Gayle systematically started the assault, making six-hitting look easier than a single – not that there weren't any singles from Gayle, there were, and plenty of twos too, as the Jamaican looked as sprightly and fit as he has looked for a few years, just like Kohli said he was before the start of this match.
So easy it seems for Gayle when he turns it on, and turn it on he did to such great effect that from 119/5 in 15 overs, he took RCB to 170 for six in 18.1 overs. Gayle was unnecessarily run out in the next ball, but by then he had done enough, with the tail-enders doing their bit to finish the match off with an over and three wickets to spare.
Earlier, it looked for a long time that KKR would get a score closer to 200, when Uthappa (35, 28b, 4x4) and Gambhir (58, 46b, 7x4, 1x6) got off to a roaring start, putting on 81 runs for the opening wicket. But, RCB did well to put the skids on and pick up some wickets, which again turned the pendulum towards the "ok, maybe they will only make around 160" side.
But then, another West Indian – Russell -- decided to kick into gear, scoring a blitzkrieg 41 (17b, 6x4, 2x6) to push that total near 180. However, with Gayle in the mood that he was in against his old team, no score would have been unscaleable.