Gayle blows England away

Gayle blows England away

Renowned hitman Chris Gayle came to the World T20 party in spectacular fashion as the dangerous West Indies kicked off their campaign in brilliant fashion here on Wednesday.

Set an extremely competitive target of 183 by England, the 2012 champions West Indies, despite playing very little cricket together as a team in the build-up to the showpiece event, showed no rust whatsoever as they scaled it down with six wickets and 11 balls to spare at the Wankhede Stadium.

Marlon Samuels laid the foundation for the successful chase with a brazen 27-ball 37 (8x4) before the talismanic Gayle (100 not out, 48b, 5x4, 11x6), given very little strike early on in the innings, opened up his mighty shoulders in typically destructive fashion midway onwards to help West Indies post their fourth straight WT20 win over England.

The West Indies though didn’t get off to the best of starts with young opener Johnson Charles perishing to David Willey in the second ball of the innings. In-coming Samuels, completely oblivious to the loss, batted with utter disdain. Giving himself plenty of room by exposing his stumps to almost every ball, Samuels backed himself as he launched a tenacious assault on the England bowlers. Struggling to cope with the dew that made gripping the ball a chore, England fast bowlers erred in their line and length as Samuels kept smacking boundaries at will.

He completely overshadowed fan favourite Gayle, who faced just 10 balls in the opening six overs. Going great guns, Samuels fell after attempting one shot too many. Trying to loft leg-spinner Adil Rashid, the 35-year-old holed out to Willey at long-on, bringing to end a blossoming 55-run second wicket partnership.

Gayle, playing in his sixth World T20 and one of the most successful batsmen in this sprint format, bade his time before taking apart the English attack to smithereens. Sixes kept flowing out of his willow with a couple of them even reaching the second tier.

Despite him going ballistic, West Indies suffered a mini wobble when they lost Denesh Ramdin and Dwayne Bravo in quick succession but the 36-year-old didn’t simmer down. Totally set and in murderous mood, he went in pursuit of the target and century as fans lapped every bit of the entertainment.

He brought up his second T20 international century off the 47th ball he faced, running down Ben Stokes’ ball down to third man for a single and then kneeling mid-pitch and breaking into a jig. The quickest century in the tournament’s history, it was also the third fastest T20 ton. His first century had come in the first edition of the tournament in South Africa, off 50 balls.

The carnage aside, England would be completely disappointed at not breaking the Windies’ WT20 jinx after setting themselves up nicely. The in-form Joe Root (48 runs, 36b, 3x4, 2x6) and dangerous Alex Hales (28, 26b, 4x4) set the tone at the start with some calculated batting before the middle-order struck some meaty blows to leave the Windies chasing a stiff target.

Playing with a new-found confidence rarely seen of England in limited overs’ cricket, the Morgan-led side produced a good batting performance of their own. However, dew, poor bowling and and ensuing Gayle storm left them bleeding again.

score board

ENGLAND
Roy c Badree b Russell    15
(15b, 2x4)
Hales b Benn     28
(26b, 4x4)
Root c Taylor b Russell     48
(36b, 3x4, 2x6)
Buttler c Brathwaite b Bravo     30
(20b, 3x6)
Morgan (not out)     27
(14b, 1x4, 2x6)
Stokes lbw Bravo     15
(7b, 2x4, 1x6)
Ali (run out)     7
(2b, 1x6)
Extras (B-1, LB-1, W-10)    12
Total (for 6 wkts, 20 overs)    182
Fall of wickets: 1-37 (Roy), 2-92 (Hales), 3-114 (Root), 4-152 (Buttler), 5-175 (Stokes), 6-182 (Ali).
Bowling: Taylor 3-0-30-0 (W-3), Badree 4-0-34-0 (W-1), Russell 4-0-36-2 (W-1), Bravo 4-0-41-2 (W-1), Benn 3-0-23-1, Brathwaite 2-0-16-0.
WEST INDIES
Charles c Ali b Willey    0
(2b)
Gayle (not out)    100
(48b, 5x4, 11x6)
Samuels c Willey b Rashid    37
(27b, 8x4)
Ramdin c Rashid b Ali    12
(14b, 1x4)
Bravo c Hales b Topley    2
(4b)
Russell (not out)    16
(16b, 2x4)
Extras (LB-4, W-10, NB-2)    16
Total (for 4 wkts, 18.1 overs)    183
Fall of wickets: 1-2 (Charles), 2-57 (Samuels), 3-103 (Ramdin), 4-113 (Bravo). Bowling: Willey 3-0-33-1 (W-2), Topley 2.1-0-22-1 (W-2), Jordan 4-0-24-0 (W-4), Stokes 3-0-42-0 (NB-2, W-2), 2-0-20-1, Rashid 2-0-20-1, Ali 4-0-38-1.

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