Mumbai: Swashbuckling opening batsman Chris Gayle smashed a sensational unbeaten century, laden with 11 towering sixes, to single-handedly take West Indies to a comprehensive six-wicket victory over England in their opening World T20 cricket match here today.
Chasing a challenging target of 183, the West Indies romped home in 18.1 overs on the back of Gayle’s bludgeoning innings during which he brought up the fastest century of the World T20 cricket in just 47 balls, to better his own 2007 record of completing a ton in 50 balls.
Gayle also became the only second batsman in history to score two centuries in T20 Internationals after the recently retired former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum.
Gayle, whose marauding unbeaten innings in the Super 10 Group 1 game kept the crowd at the Wankhede Stadium on their feet throughout, had hit his first T20 International hundred during the 2007 World T20 in South Africa.
The Jamaican left-hander struck 11 sixes and five fours today as he carried his bat through the innings. He also became the highest number of six hitter in T20 Internationals with 92 in his name now.
After the early loss of his opening partner Johnson Charles (0), the 36-year-old Gayle put on 55 runs in 39 balls for the second wicket with Marlon Samuels, who struck 37 in 27 balls with eight fours, and 46 in 27 balls with Dinesh Ramdin (12) for the third.
Later, Gayle put on an unconquered stand of 70 for the fifth wicket with Andre Russell (16 not out) to guide his team past England’s total with 11 balls to spare as West Indies made 183 for four.
The six-hitting spree by the West Indian giant flattened England’s hopes as he was particularly severe on their two spinners — leggie Adil Rashid and offie Moeen Ali, besides pacer Ben Stokes.
Rashid was carted for successive sixes into the second tier of the stands by Gayle to set the tone and then smote Stokes for successive leg-side sixes before turning his attention to Ali’s off-spin to pummel him for three successive sixes over long on to virtually end England’s chances in the 14th over.