Chris Gayle blasted a whirlwind unbeaten 128, studded with incredible 13 sixes, as Royal Challengers Bangalore thumped Delhi Daredevils by 21 runs to keep their play-offs hopes alive in the Indian Premier League on Thursday.
With his first hundred of the season, Gayle became the first batsman to score 700 or more runs in a single edition in the history of IPL as RCB scored a mammoth 215 for one after being invited to bat at the Feroze Shah Kotla ground.
The marauding West Indian surpassed Sachin Tendulkar's 618 runs which the Mumbai Indians batsman had scored in 2009-10 while Gayle now has scored 706 runs this season.
With his skipper Virat Kohli (73 not out off 53 balls), Gayle rattled up an unconquered 204-run stand, second-highest partnership for any wicket in IPL, to set up the huge target.
Gayle's 62-ball knock was also the second highest individual score by a batsman in the IPL history, second only to Brendon McCullum's unbeaten 158, which the Kiwi had hit in the inaugural edition in 2008 for Kolkata Knight Riders.
With someone such as Virender Sehwag missing from the line-up, it was a daunting task for Delhi to chase down such a huge target and all they could manage was 194 for nine in their 20 overs.
Nevertheless, it was a spirited reply by Delhi with Ross Taylor top-scoring with his a 26-ball 55 and Y Venugopal Rao contributing 36 runs. Andre Russell (31 off 15) hit some lusty shots towards the end but it was too late for Delhi.
RCB pace colleagues Zaheer Khan (3/38), Prasanth Parameswaran (3/30) and R Vinay Kumar (2/35) shared eight wickets among them.
RCB are now fifth with 17 points and have their last match against Deccan Chargers on May 20. Chennai Super Kings' defeat at the hands of Kings XI Punjab earlier today helped Bangalore's cause as the defending champions stayed on 17 points with no more their league engagements remaining.
The hosts needed big-hitting David Warner to fire but the Australian managed just 15 runs and he was back in the dug out with fellow opener Unmukt Chand (15) early.
Soon Delhi lost skipper Jayawardene (9) but Venugopal and Taylor refused to throw in the towel by taking the side to 96 for two at half-way mark.
Taylor, who had been woefully out of touch, finally got going as he timed the ball sweetly and that was good news for Delhi ahead of knockout stage.
Taylor and Venugopal added quick 38 runs for the fourth wicket before the latter was removed by Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.
Taylor kept going with confidence as he swept Muralitharan for a six to complete his half-century. It was his second six off the Sri Lankan.
With Taylor in full flow in company of talented Naman Ojha, the hosts needed 67 runs off the last five overs. However, Zaheer saw the back of Ojha (13) and the Kiwi also departed when he went for a big shot off Vinay Kumar.
Earlier, Gayle took some time to settle after being invited to bat by Jayawardene, who led Delhi in place of Sehwag, and then hit hapless Delhi bowlers at will all around the ground.
Initially, he took 17 balls for his first 10 runs and then scored the next 90 in just 35 balls as he hit 13 sixes and seven fours in his scintillating 62-ball unbeaten knock.
Kohli too looked in much better touch today as he scored freely and never looked uncomfortable. The youngster faced 53 balls and hit 10 boundaries, including a six.
There was no escape from the Gayle 'storm' and Delhi sorely missed Morne Morkel, who was rested today as the hosts have already secured a berth in the play-offs.
Jayawardene did everything to stop a marauding Gayle but the West Indian was unstoppable as neither the spinners nor the pacers had an answer to the power-hitting of the left-hander.
At the start, Delhi pacers did a good job with Umesh Yadav bowling a fiery maiden over to Gayle and Varun Aaron dismissing Tillakaratne Dilshan with his second ball.
Dilshan looked in good touch as he had driven Irfan Pathan for two exquisite straight drives in the opening over but a leading edge that flew to Pathan at mid-on brought about his end.
Kohli hit four elegant boundaries, two each off Yadav and Aaron immediately after arriving at the crease.
Delhi though did extremely well to contain Gayle initially. The explosive Caribbean faced 17 balls till the power-play and scored only 10 runs.
Gayle's first six came off fellow Jamaican Andre Russell, who played in place of rested Morkel, in the eighth over and second off Venugopal Rao in the 10th over as RCB reached 79 for one at half-way mark.
The stage was set for a big score and soon Gayle was his usual attacking self. He hit left-arm spinner Pawan Negi for a 106-meter long six and then completed his fifty with a long-off boundary off Russell.
All hell broke loose after that as Gayle hit Pathan and Negi for three sixes each and RCB went on to score 78 runs in the last five overs.