ENGLAND BOWLERS PUT TO THE SWORD BY GAYLE
MUMBAI – Chris Gayle became the first batsman to score two World Cup T20 hundreds in a batting master class that consigned England to a six-wicket defeat in their 2016 opener at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai today.
The Jamaican (100 not out from 48 balls), who plundered 117 against South Africa in the inaugural World T20 match in 2007, smeared a 47-ball ton – a competition record – as West Indies topped England’s 182 for 6 with 11 deliveries to spare
Joe Root (48 from 36) was England’s top scorer, though Jos Buttler (30 from 20), Alex Hales (28 from 26) and skipper Eoin Morgan (27not out from 14) each made valuable contributions.
But Gayle’s pyrotechnics – during which he took his T20I sixes tally to 98, beyond Brendon McCullum’s previous record of 91 – saw England lose their fourth straight World T20 game against West Indies following reverses in 2009, 2010 and 2012.
Nobody has hit as many sixes in a World T20 innings as the 11 that Gayle despatched in Mumbai, breaking his own record of 10 against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2007 – his only previous T20I hundred. Seven flew down the ground, the other four further along the leg-side arc and apart from a leap from Joe Root in a failed attempt to intercept the one that brought up his 50, all England’s fielders could do was watch.
England, having set a par score of 182 for the Wankhede, will conclude it was just one of those nights, but their bowling line-up looked flaky in the final stages of a bilateral series in South Africa and they had little answer to Gayle. Moeen Ali was in the eye of the storm, conceding 33 from 14 balls, including three sixes in a row, all of them in his favourite area down the ground, two of them on the full.
The night was wet enough for the authorities to decide that play should be held up midway through West Indies’ innings to allow machinery to dry the outfield and ensure an even contest, an uncommon intervention. At 85 for 2, West Indies were well in control and, having won the toss, would have been happy with as much dew on the outfield as they could get, but Gayle made such a debate an irrelevance.
The first warning for England of trouble ahead came when Ben Stokes struggled to cope with the dew in his first over. England had more towels available than the average swimming pool, but Stokes conceded three fours and a free hit to Marlon Samuels in an over characterised by a full toss and a misfield. What dampness the dew wasn’t causing, the nerves were.
Gayle watched all this contentedly from the non-striker’s end, his eye already in after despatching two half-volleys for 10 in Reece Topley’s opening over. He faced only six balls in the first 32, but as destructive batsmen go, he likes to take a long, lingering look, and from what he could tell things were going extremely well.
Samuels holed out against Adil Rashid at long-on, his 37 from 27 having given West Indies the edge. It was time for Gayle to stir in the form of two successive sixes off Rashid, the first of them an 89 metre blow down the ground and into the top tier.
Others were less successful. Denesh Ramdin scratched and scraped to no effect and, although Reece Topley’s back-of-the-hand slower ball against Dwayne Bravo arrived as a thigh-high full toss, he planted it into the hands of deep midwicket. Andre Russell stayed with Gayle as he claimed the contest in emphatic style.
“The preparation has been really, really good – it’s all about practising your skills and then you can exploit it out there in the middle. It worked for me today – it was a good wicket to bat on,” Gayle said after the game.
Morgan thought England should have scored more runs than their eventual 182.
“It was a competitive total but if we had got 220 it could have been a match-winning score. We never really took the game away from them, albeit that the West Indies bowled well and mixed it up, and then once Chris Gayle got going it, it was hard to stop him scoring.”
Windies skipper Darren Sammy said his team had self belief and that was important to their campaign.
“We just have to focus on what we have in the dressing room and the belief we have in ourselves, especially in this format. We will play our cricket and continue to entertain. We are in it to win it and with performances like that we have put ourselves in a good position,” he said.
J Roy c Badree b Russell 15
A Hales b Benn 28
J Root c Taylor b Russell 48
+J Buttler c Brathwaite b Bravo 30
*E Morgan not out 27
B Stokes lbw b Bravo 15
M Ali run out 7
Extras (b1, lb1, w10) 12
TOTAL (6 wkts, 20 overs) 182
Did not bat: C Jordan, A Rashid, D Willey, R Topley
Fall of wickets: 1-37 (Roy, 4.3 overs), 2-92 (Hales, 11.1),
3-114 (Root, 14.2), 4-152 (Buttler, 17.5), 5-175
(Stokes, 19.4), 6-182 (Ali, 20)
Bowling: Taylor 3-0-30-0 (w3), Badree 4-0-34-0 (w1),
Russell 4-0-36-2 (w1), Bravo 4-0-41-2 (w1), Benn 3-0-23-1,
J Charles c Ali b Willey 0
C Gayle not out 100
M Samuels c Willey b Rashid 37
+D Ramdin c Rashid b Ali 12
DJ Bravo c Hales b Topley 2
A Russell not out 16
Extras (lb4, w10, nb2) 16
TOTAL (4 wkts, 18.1 overs) 183
Did not bat: C Brathwaite, *D Sammy, S Badree, S Benn,
Fall of wickets: 1-2 (Charles, 0.2 overs), 2-57
(Samuels, 6.4), 3-103 (Ramdin, 11.1), 4-113 (Bravo, 12.2)
Bowling: Willey 3-0-33-1 (w2), Topley 2.1-0-22-1 (w2),
Jordan 4-0-24-0 (w4), Stokes 3-0-42-0 (w2, nb2),
Rashid 2-0-20-1, Moeen Ali 4-0-38-1.
Result: West Indies won by six wickets.
Points: West Indies 2, England 0.
Man-of-the-Match: Chris Gayle.
Toss: West Indies.
Umpires: C Gaffaney, R Tucker; TV – P Reiffel.