March 17, 2016

Chris Gayle blows England away with unbeaten ton - England v West Indies, World T20 2016, Group 1, Mumbai

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Chris Gayle made short work of a 183-run target by dispatching England's bowlers for a 47-ball century in their T20 World Cup opener, played at the Wankhede stadium, Mumbai on Wednesday.

Gayle's effort ensured the West Indies won the match with 11 balls to spare and six wickets still in the bag. Darren Sammy, West Indies' captain, won the toss - on a pitch that had a tinge of grass - and put England in to bat.

The pitch proved to be deceptive, despite the moisture, there was no seam movement. England's openers, Jason Roy and Alex Hales, made a cautious start and managed just five runs from the first two overs.

The duo cut loose thereafter and thumped four fours in the next two overs. Andre Russell accounted for Roy in the fifth, after he flicked one to midwicket for 15. Joe Root and Hales then added 55 runs for the second wicket. Root added a quick fire 48 off just 36 balls and Hales 28 from 26 balls. Jos Buttler and Captain Eoin Morgan continued to score at a brisk rate through most of their innings and helped England post a respectable 182.

Fast bowler, David Willey, then jolted the West Indies ranks in the first over itself and dismissed Johnson Charles, with just one on the board. But, Gayle, thereafter dictated the tempo and powered the chase. He made his intentions clear in the first over that he faced and clubbed Reece Topley for a four and a six.

Marlon Samuels joined the boundary-hitting frenzy and hit seven fours, in the next three overs, before he departed in the seventh over for a 27-ball 37, that had given his side the edge. His replacement, Dinesh Ramdin, played second fiddle to Gayle, as the left-hander tore England's bowlers - already struggling with dew - apart.

Gayle smashed eleven sixes, the most in a World T20 innings by a batsman. He broke his own record of 10 against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2007, which was also his only previous T20I hundred. 86 of his unbeaten 100 came from fours and sixes. His century is the joint-third fastest in all T20Is, and the quickest in World T20 matches.

England's bowlers had no answer to Gayle's onslaught. As Morgan put it, in the post-match interview, "Gayle is a hard guy to stop." Gayle said that, given the wicket was batsman friendly, he backed himself to chase the target.

"The preparation has been really good, it's all about practicing then doing it in the middle. The dew played a part as well. After facing the first over I took a while to get back on strike, but Marlon helped ease the pressure. We wanted to stay ahead of the run-rate, pleased to finish the game and not leave it to anyone else," Gayle said.

"I was pumped today. Before I went out, Sulieman Benn said 'entertain me'. The guys who play the IPL know it's a good wicket so we knew we always had a chance to chase it down. Hopefully we can move onto Sri Lanka now. Bangalore, my home town. Hopefully I can entertain again. The celebration was all about DJ Bravo and his new song."

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