#SAvWI: Faf du Plessis century not enough to stop Chris Gayle onslaught

A string of records fell in a boundary-laden second KFC T20 international at Bidvest Wanderers on Sunday, but in the end not enough of them were on the side of the Ticketpro Proteas to deny the West Indies a series victory.

Faf du Plessis’ 119 from just 56 balls was the highest score by a South African in a Twenty20 international, and made him the first South African batsman - and eighth overall - to have notched up international centuries in all three formats.

It also saw him score the second fastest T20I hundred of all time when he reached three figures in 46 balls, which helped South Africa amass 231 for seven after they had been put in to bat.

Unfortunately South Africa were unable to contain Chris Gayle (90 off 41 balls), and this time he was aided by an on-song Marlon Samuels who struck 60 in 39 balls as the pair put on 152 for the second wicket - the equal third highest partnership for any wicket in Twenty20 internationals.

“I was joking earlier that its heart-breaking when you score your first T20 hundred and you don’t even get a crack at man of the match,” du Plessis quipped. “It generally goes to the opposition, the guys that win the match so I understand that. It would have been so much sweeter if we had won the game. Although I’m proud of my efforts today, losing the game doesn’t make it special, its bittersweet.”

With West Indies’ strong middle order all chipping in, the tourists reached their target with four wickets and four balls to spare, giving them the record for the highest successful run chase in Twenty20 cricket, as well as their highest score in Twenty20 internationals.

With a perfect batting wicket and the thin air helping the ball to fly further, 12 sixes were hit in each innings, making this the joint second highest number of sixes hit in a Twenty20 international.

David Miller hit the biggest of the day when he smashed one straight out of the ground on his way to 47 from 26 balls, but his dismissal via a run-out ended a 102-run alliance with Du Plessis and the Proteas lost regular wickets thereafter.

The West Indies were always on track thanks to the stand between Gayle and Samuels, until David Wiese derailed them with three wickets in seven balls that sent both batsmen plus Kieron Pollard back to the shed.

Kyle Abbott and Aaron Phangiso chipped away at the West Indian middle order, but not before Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo and Darren Sammy had all contributed cameos that kept the visitors up with the asking rate.

Sammy (20 not out from seven balls) finished the match in the fashion that it deserved, lofting a six high over midwicket to give the West Indies a 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

Du Plessis said he expected the West Indies to come out firing in pursuit of the record-chase, but was disappointed with the execution from his bowlers, who battled to stick to their game plans.

“ I was pretty disappointed that we didn’t pull that one through,” Du Plessis said. “ I thought there were a couple of areas in the game where we could have been better; in the field and with the ball with regards to our plans and containing them. It’s hard to contain Chris Gayle when he is playing like that. He put a lot of pressure on the bowlers and you almost have no answers, he is a cut above the rest.”

The near-sell out Bidvest Wanderers crowd was treated to a fantastic game of cricket, with a total of 68 boundaries hitting the stands.

“ If there is a good wicket the ball just flies a little bit,” he explained. “ We saw the sixes today, they were huge, David Miller hit a few into the green. The sixes are always bigger than at any other ground here because the ball travels further through the air.

“ I love games like this,” he added. “ T20 cricket should be like this, it should be a run-fest where the bowler is under pressure because in Test cricket the bowlers are on top and it’s a test for the batsmen. Its great to be a part of a match like this, great for the public; they come to see fours and sixes. It was a great game of cricket.”

The third and final game of the series is at Durban on Wednesday.

James Buttler

James has been working as a journalist and broadcaster in cricket since 2006 and was an avid fan for many years before that.
As the editor of World Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
He is also the presenter of the Cricket Badger Radio Show on Radio Yorkshire every Tuesday evening between 7-9pm UK time.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author, a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications and a complete cricket badger!

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