Barbadian Edwards conceded 34 runs from his four overs after coming on as first change as Melbourne Stars made 153 for seven off 20 overs after they were sent in.
David Hussey topscored with 52 off 27 balls including three fours and three sixes at No. 4 before he was run out by a combination of Warner and Gayle, who used the new ball and sent down three overs for 15 runs.
Gayle then accompanied fellow left-hander Warner to the middle for the chase, an opening combination of awe-inspiring power. However, Gayle’s stay was brief and painful. The big Jamaican was struck a blow on the gloves by James Faulkner, before being yorked by the left-armer’s slower ball in the first over.
Skipper Warner, who had sparkled in the field with two catches along with the run out, soon took centre stage after Gayle’s dismissal. He slammed 102 not out off only 51 balls, striking six fours and the same number of sixes as his team won with one over to spare.
Former Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne had dominated the build-up but Warner dominated the match, peaking at the moment Warne entered the attack in front of a 23,496-strong Melbourne crowd that has adored him for nearly 20 years.
Player-of-the-Match Warner chose that over to launch into the most monstrous six over long-on, and heaved another in Warne’s second. He would bowl only two overs for 19 runs, no doubt restricted by the recent burns a cooking accident had inflicted on his bowling hand.
The Thunder’s bowlers had given Warner a decidedly manageable target to aim at with a stolid ensemble, highlighted by the bowling of the unheralded Scott Coyte and Luke Doran. Doug Bollinger took two for 22 though he struggled for rhythm and speed, while Coyte picked up two for 26.
Faulkner was easily the best of the Melbourne Stars bowlers with two for 20 off four overs.
England bowlers Luke Wright and Jade Dernbach went for a combined 71 from their eight overs as they felt the power of Warner.