CHRIS GAYLE bludgeoned his way into the World Cup records with his career-high 215 containing 16 sixes and his 372-run partnership with Marlon Samuels (133 not out) lifting West Indies to 372-2 against Zimbabwe in a Pool B match on Tuesday.
Under intense pressure after failing to score a one-day international century since June 2013, and averaging less than 20 in the meantime, Gayle had a huge reprieve when he survived an lbw appeal and a review of umpire Steve Davis’ not-out decision on the first ball he faced Tinashe Panyangara.
Then the 35-year-old Jamaican let the Zimbabwe attack have it, surpassing Gary Kirsten’s 188 against the United Arab Emirates in 1996 as the highest individual score in the World Cup before he was caught out on the last ball of the innings. His 147-ball knock also contained 10 boundaries and was the fastest double-hundred — and only the fourth overall — in an ODI.
His partnership with Samuels also was an ODI record for any wicket.
Gayle’s 16 sixes equaled the record for most in an ODI innings, level with South Africa skipper AB de Villiers’ mark against the West Indies in Johannesburg last month and Rohit Sharma’s knock against Australia in 2013.
He was on the attack for most of the innings, but cautious when he got close to his 22nd ODI hundred, moving through the 90s mostly in singles. At the end of an over featuring four singles, he smashed a six to move to 107 from 108 balls.
The Zimbabwe bowlers had no answers to his onslaught, and had setbacks when Gayle was caught from a no-ball at long-on while on 121 and caught again in the deep off the subsequent free hit in an eventful start to the 40th over.
It wasn’t until the last ball of the innings that he was skied a catch off Hamilton Masakadza (1-39), who was brought in to bowl the last two deliveries after two consecutive above-the-waist no balls from Tendai Chatara.
Gayle said he needed the break he got from his early reprieve when he was hit on the pads, in front, to a ball that may have gone over the stumps.
“There’s been a lot of pressure. The runs haven’t been coming,” he said. “In the end I am sure I gave them something to talk about.”
Samuels played an anchor role, hitting 11 boundaries and three sixes after going to the crease after Panyangara bowled Dwayne Smith without a run on the board with the second ball. He did have a let off in the 17th over, when he was dropped on 27.Advertisement
The West Indies were heavily criticized after a surprising four-wicket loss to Ireland in their opening match, but rebounded well to thrash 1992 champion Pakistan by 150 runs on the weekend.