#CWC15: Chris Gayle record 215 for West Indies too much for Zimbabwe

MATCH 15: Chris Gayle plundered a record breaking 215 as West Indies beat Zimbabwe by 73 runs (D/L) in Canberra.

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Everyone has been writing Gayle off as he’s scratched around for runs in the World Cup so far, but he is different. He’s not fussed with form. He can fail, look terrible and then produce a world-class feat from nowhere. That’s what he did today.

He may have gone 19 months without an ODI century, but today the fastest ever ODI double century, including 16 sixes, seemed the most normal thing in the world.

Gayle’s was the fifth double-century in ODIs and the third highest score ever after, five years ago, Sachin Tendulkar produced the first double ton.

Gayle finished on 215 from 147 balls as he hit 10 fours and sent 16 sixes flying into the crowd.

Marlon Samuels, almost unnoticed, made his highest ODI score as he and Gayle added 372 for the second wicket, the highest for any wicket in ODIs.

It is of huge credit to Zimbabwe that, after the Gayle onslaught, they put their heads down and made a decent attempt to chase the improbable 373 they required for victory. They could have been forgiven for completely imploding.

After light rain had fallen throughout the West Indies fireworks, it was enough to take the players from the field in the third over of Zimbabwe’s reply. It meant their target was revised to 363 from 48 overs.

Zimbabwe slipped to 46 for three at the end of the eight over after Regis Chakabva and Hamilton Masakadza had fallen cheaply and Sikander Raza (26) had given a catch off Jason Holder.

A 80-run partnership between Brendan Taylor and Sean Williams reignited Zimbabwe’s chase before Williams was joined by Craig Ervine (51) to add 51 for the fifth wicket from only 46 balls. Without Gayle the West Indies could well have struggled.

Williams mistimed a pull to leave his side needing 186 from 20.1 overs with five wickets remaining.

Gayle added wickets to his day when he bowled Ervine when he attempted to sweep and had Stuart Matsikenyeri lbw.

Marlon Samuels congratulates Chris Gayle on his double century. The pair added a world ODI record of 372 for any wicket.

Zimbabwe ended on 289 all out from their 44.3 overs. A defeat by 73 runs on Duckworth Lewis.

Gayle seems to be growing up. There were 59 dot balls in his knock as he first fought to get back on form and then refused to give it away.

It could have been so different. Tinashe Panyangara, who had already taken the wicket of Dwayne Smith, bowled for a duck, had a loud appeal for lbw turned down by umpire Steve Davis. On review it would have clipped the bails, but Gayle stayed as the decision was the umpire’s call.

So West Indies survived to be 43 for one after 10 overs and then Gayle hit his first six in the 11th over and away we all went.

Zimbabwe were guilty of dropping some chances. Samuels was dropped in the 17th over by Chatara, Gayle was caught at long-on off a no-ball when on 121. Off the resulting free hit, Gayle was caught again at long-on.

Samuels ended unbeaten on 133 from 156 balls with 11 fours and 3 sixes, but it was very much the Chris Gayle show. He was caught off the final ball of the 50-overs, but his 215 will live long in the memory.

“It was a fantastic day for me,” said Gayle after the match. “From a team point of view it was a great all-round performance.

“We are looking forward to the next match against SA. When you work hard, then you start to see the results,” he continued. “Glad I was able to produce the goods today and score my first ODI double century.

“Losing Smith early was a blow, so when Marlon came we just tried to consolidate. It was a bit slow early on so we tried to make the necessary adjustments early on Eventually things became easier for us, and then eventually we were able to get this big total.

“Marlon also accelerated at the end too. Not worried about my bowling at all, I am too good. Coming from the loss in the first game, then beating Pakistan, and coming out on top again today, now we have to face South Africa. We have to settle scores against them after they beat us 4-1 recently.”

Elton Cigumbura, the Zimbabwe captain, said: “There is a lot of work to be done - Gayle’s lbw was just unlucky, but he played a massive innings today.

“I think we will be fine (morale wise), we have to just forget about what happened today. Obviously it was a hard score to chase down, it is a matter of just working hard, hopefully our bowling comes into play in the next game, and if we are chasing, hopefully we are chasing a lower score.”

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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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