The onset of monsoon is still some months away, but Chris Gayle provided Mumbai with a ‘burst’ of a different kind on Wednesday night.
If nothing else, this simple statistic will illustrate the kind of carnage that was on display at the Wankhede: England smashed nine sixes; Gayle trumped them with a mind-numbing 11 of his own.
Quite fittingly, his 48-ball 100 — the century brought up in 47 — ensured the West Indies won its Group 1 opener in emphatic fashion, by six wickets and with 11 deliveries to spare.
As is his wont, Gayle made the 183-run target look like child’s play. And the England attack? David Willey, Reece Topley, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali… he spared none of them, repeatedly depositing their offerings to the far corners of the ground and, at times, attempting to even clear the railed roof. The 10 wides that England conceded didn’t help its cause either.
Surprisingly enough, Gayle was quiet to begin with. In fact, it was Marlon Samuels who turned on the heat by making room and cracking an impressive eight boundaries during his 27-ball 37, virtually relegating Gayle to a spectator.
But, Gayle probably knew his time would come. And, when it did, he was ready to take over.
When he hit Adil Rashid for consecutive sixes in the ninth over, both over long-on, Gayle had five maximums on the night. A little later, Stokes thought he would intimidate the intimidator with some short-pitched stuff. Big mistake! Gayle plundered him over deep square-leg. Twice over!
It was now time for the sucker punch. Barely interested in running the ones and twos and seldom distracted by the fall of wickets — Johnson Charles, Samuels, Denesh Ramdin and Dwayne Bravo, all got carried away — Gayle singled out Moeen for some special treatment in the 14th over.
Those three consecutive murderous sixes, each bigger than the other, took him past England’s tally of sixes.
Into the 80s, and with the game more or less in the bag, Gayle pulled Willey for his 11th of the night. With 15 needed and more than four overs to go, he chose to calm down. Save for that warrior-like celebration upon reaching his hundred, the remainder of the evening was rather uneventful!
In the first half of the game, England threatened to go into overdrive on several occasions, but the West Indies always found a way to pull things back. But, in the end, a string of handy cameos meant England had enough to bowl at — or maybe not.
Buttler justifies promotion
Joe Root (48) was the glue that held England together. His 36-ball stay was as lively as it was assuring, but he fell at a rather inopportune time. Batting at No. 4, Jos Buttler justified his promotion with a breezy 30.
On his part, skipper Eoin Morgan stayed there till the end, taking England past the 180-run mark with a 14-ball 27.
England would have expected opener Alex Hales to do better than he did. Save a hat-trick of boundaries he collected off leg-spinner Samuel Badree, Hales never got going.
He consumed 26 deliveries for just 28, but that was largely due to the control of Jerome Taylor and Badree who gave away just five runs off the first two overs. Both the teams went in with two spinners, with the West Indies leaving Test and ODI skipper Jason Holder out. In the end, though, it was all about the Gayle show!
England: Jason Roy c Badree b Russell 15 (15b, 2x4), Alex Hales b Benn 28 (26b, 4x4), Joe Root c Taylor b Russell 48 (36b, 3x4, 2x6), Jos Buttler c Brathwaite b Bravo 30 (20b, 3x6), Eoin Morgan (not out) 27 (14b, 1x4, 2x6), Ben Stokes lbw b Bravo 15 (7b, 2x4, 1x6), Moeen Ali run out 7 (2b, 1x6); Extras (b-1, lb-1, w-10): 12; Total (for six wickets in 20 overs): 182.
Fall of wickets: 1-37 (Roy), 2-92 (Hales), 3-114 (Root), 4-152 (Buttler), 5-175 (Stokes), 6-182 (Moeen).
West Indies bowling: Jerome Taylor 3-0-30-0, Badree 4-0-34-0, Andre Russell 4-0-36-2, Dwayne Bravo 4-0-41-2, Sulieman Benn 3-0-23-1, Carlos Brathwaite 2-0-16-0.
West Indies: Johnson Charles c Moeen b Willey 0 (2b), Chris Gayle (not out) 100 (48b, 5x4, 11x6), Marlon Samuels c Willey b Rashid 37 (27b, 8x4), Denesh Ramdin c Rashid b Moeen 12 (14b, 1x4), Dwayne Bravo c Hales b Topley 2 (4b), Andre Russell (not out) 16 (16b, 2x4); Extras (lb-4, w-10, nb-2): 16; Total (for four wickets in 18.1 overs): 183.
Fall of wickets: 1-2 (Charles), 2-57 (Samuels), 3-103 (Ramdin), 4-113 (Bravo).
England bowling: David Willey 3-0-33-1, Reece Topley 2.1-0-22-1, Chris Jordan 4-0-24-0, Ben Stokes 3-0-42-0, Adil Rashid 2-0-20-1, Moeen Ali 4-0-38-1.
Toss: West Indies.
Player-of-the-match: Chris Gayle.
West Indies won by six wickets with 11 balls to spare.
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