This week, Chris Gayle proved just why he is the most important player in the Royal Challengers Bangalore line-up. The Jamaican opener smashed a match-winning ton that helped keep his team’s playoff hopes alive.

While the rest of the IPL teams had, for the most part, failed to make so much as a ripple against the mighty Delhi Daredevils, Gayle-powered RCB eased its way to a mammoth total of 215. This was after the Bangalore side was asked to bat first on a slightly seaming track by stand-in DD skipper Mahela Jayawardene.

Although the Daredevils were missing the services of the dangerous Morne Morkel and Shahbaz Nadeem, they still boasted a balanced pace attack comprising Irfan Pathan, Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav. In other words, this was clearly no second string attack. However, Gayle treated them like they were mere practice bowlers lobbing easy deliveries in the nets.

In a high pressure game, the West Indian took the attack to the opposition and scored at will in all directions. His unbeaten 128-run unbeaten knock took just 62 balls, and was laced with seven fours and a whopping 13 sixes.

Gayle's knock was so exhausting that towards the end of it he was clearly showing signs of fatigue and cramping. Still, he managed to hit three sixes in two separate overs!

This, of course, comes as no surprise to cricket fans as the dashing opener has accounted for over one-third of his team’s runs since he started playing for them. As a result of this knock, Gayle is nearly 150 runs ahead of the second highest run-getter (Ajinkya Rahane) in IPL 2012.

Besides, we won’t be surprised if, with one more league game and (potentially) the playoffs still to go, he ends up scoring more than 1,000 runs this season! For now, his tally of 706 runs sees him securely grasping the Orange Cap.
So, for scoring big when it matters and for doing what he does best--with all the swagger in the world--we proclaim Chris Gayle our Sports Hero of the Week.