Amazing Gayle hits first World Cup double as Windies win big

CANBERRA, Australia – Chris Gayle returned to his brilliant best with the first double century in Cricket World Cup history to pilot West Indies to a superb victory over Zimbabwe at Munaka Oval on Tuesday.

The powerful left-hander was in record-breaking form as he smashed 215 off just 147 balls with 14 fours and 16 sixes before he was out off the last ball as West Indies made 372-2 off 50 overs.

With this innings, he became the first player to score a triple century in Test cricket, a double century in ODIs and a century in T20 Internationals.

Gayle’s 22nd ODI century surpassed Garry Kirsten’s previous best of 188 made against the United Arab Emirates in 1996. The 16 sixes equalled the record for the most in an innings.

During the innings, Gayle reached the 9,000 run landmark in ODIs and is now second behind Brian Lara 10,405 in the West Indies all-time list.

Gayle also broke several West Indies records.

He surpassed Sir Vivian Richards’189 not out against England as the highest all-time score, and his 181 against Sri Lanka as the highest score by a West Indian in the 40-year history of the World Cup.

Gayle added a world record 372 for the second wicket with Marlon Samuels, who made a career-best 133 not out.

He also took two wickets to complete a memorable Man-of-the-Match performance as West Indies won by 73 runs (Duckworth/Lewis Method).

West Indies travel to Sydney on Wednesday as they prepare to face South Africa at the SCG on Friday (11:30 pm Thursday Eastern Caribbean Time/10:30 pm Thursday Jamaica Time)

Gayle spoke to reporters after Tuesday’s play. Please see quotes below:

About the innings and what it means.
It was a slow start. You know, we lost Dwayne Smith early, and then Marlon came in with only two deliveries bowled. He asked me what was happening out there, but I couldn’t give much information. All I said was that the bowler kept the ball a bit low. But eventually, we had to attack because we didn’t want to put ourselves under tremendous pressure. That was my game plan, try and push them back as early as possible. Eventually it worked, and then in the middle period, then we can pick up things a bit further and then you can pick and choose which bowler you want to take your chances off more, and then eventually it worked.

On his return to form and playing through the pain barrier
This innings means a lot. It has been a while since I’ve been on a run, maybe one year and a couple months now. I’m still playing with an injury, so I’ve been restricted in a lot of areas, you know, preparation-wise. I hope this is a start of a new beginning. Try and build this as much as possible and then put the team in a good position, and then we look forward to it against South Africa on Friday. It’s the same back injury. I’ve had it since last January. It can’t seem to be solved. I’ve been restricted from that for a couple of months, as well. Eventually it worked out for me in the end. You just have to be mentally strong.

On facing South Africa in the next match
We toured South Africa recently. We know each other, as well. It’s going to be a good could be test. It’s a World Cup event now, so we’re all on neutral ground, so we’ve got to make our best performance speak for ourselves, and hopefully can come out on top against South Africa and go one up on them in the World Cup here.

On the team’s mood in the dressing room
We lost the first match but to come back and beat Pakistan and now to beat Zimbabwe in this fashion is positive for us – we scored 300 runs in each match so far. So hopefully we can go four-for-four and post a good total, or whatever we are going to chase and look to win again. Apart from the first game, I thought our bowlers did a wonderful job. Jerome Taylor with the new ball is picking up early wickets for us, which puts us in a good position and the captain Jason Holder, has baked him up very well.