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|Gayle powers past Lara, Samuels celebrate ton|
|Wednesday, 11 July 2012 20:15|
JAMAICA’S most successful batsman Christopher Henry Gayle powered past West Indies greatest run-getter and centurion Brian Charles Lara when he plundered the weakened New Zealand team for his 20th One Day Internationals hundred at Sabina Park last Saturday.
Having been West Indies established opener, Gayle has always had the good fortune to plan his attack on opposing bowlers and to pace himself according to the situation of the match in his quest to register big totals for himself and the team.
Before his adoring fans at Sabina, Gayle entered his name into the record books as West Indies most prolific ODIs centurion with an attacking 125 that was embellished with nine huge sixes and eight fours off 107 balls.
The powerfully-built Gayle dominated the second- and third-wicket partnerships which set the stage for 315 for 5 off the allotted 50 overs, the highest by a West Indian team against New Zealand. The previous was 306 for 6 at Guwahati on November 1, 1994.
It was also the third highest total for West Indies at Sabina following their 20-run defeat to India on June 26, 2009 when Yuvraj Singh’s 131 piloted the visitors to 339 for 6 in 50 overs. In reply, Gayle’s WI mustered 319 with Shivnarine Chanderpaul the top-scoring with 63.
Chanderpaul, opened the batting with Andre Fletcher (48) and emerged as the topscorer against Canada with 101 (120b, 10x4s, 1x6). He laid the foundation with 88 for the first wicket. Then he and Darren Bravo (74) shared a 143-run second-wicket stand while Sarwan and Narsingh Deonarine contributed 47 and 31 respectively as Windies compiled 316 for 4 versus Canada on April 13, 2010. WI registered a comprehensive 204-run victory when Canada was blown away for a paltry 108.
On Saturday, in tandem with Dwayne Smith (24), Gayle was the usual aggressor and they posted 88 for the second wicket after Lendl Simmons’ wretched form continued having been caught behind by wicketkeeper Bradley-John Watling for three off leftarm seamer Tim Southee.
Simmons faced 17 balls while the first four overs yielded a conservative 10 runs for 1 wicket. Simmons’ departure from centre-stage signalled a change of tempo as Gayle smashed Kyle Mills over the long off boundary for the first of his three sixes in the same over.
The first six was off the second delivery while the fourth was sent on a holiday trip over the wide long off boundary to the top level of the massive stand while the fifth was rocketed away over the ropes at long off for another six.
Gayle and his younger compatriot Marlon Samuels treated their countrymen with glorious strokeplay that yielded 129 runs for the third-wicket partnership.
Their productive stand allowed Samuels also to celebrate his third ODI hundred and first in the Caribbean. The elegant right-hander was undefeated on 101 that contained only one six and seven fours off 103 balls. While Gayle’s belligerent batting style had the crowd jumping for joy, it was the sweet timing and placement by Samuels that kept the scoreboard ticking over regularly as West Indies amassed a defendable total.
Lara’s impressionable career records showed that he took 299 matches and 289 innings for his 19th centuries while Gayle’s 20th was achieved in his 231st match and 226th innings.
Gayle’s 20th career century puts him in the joint sixth position alongside Pakistan’s Saeed Anwar. They are preceded by India’s Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar with 49 tons, Australia’s Ricky Ponting 30, Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya 28, India’s Sourav Ganguly 22 and South Africa’s Herchelle Gibbs 21.
With his 125, Gayle took his overall ODIs aggregate to 8 328 runs which put him in fourth position in the all-time West Indies top aggregate list which is headed by Lara on 10 405 runs and tenth in the all-time list of all players.
Guyana’s Shivnarine Chanderpaul is second with 8 778 (268 matches, 251 innings) and 16th in the all-time list while Barbadian Desmond Haynes is next with 8 648 runs (238 matches, 237 innings).
India’s Tendulkar leads the aggregate list with an insurmountable world record tally of 18 426 runs.
For Gayle, ten of his previous hundreds were part of winning experience and so would be his record-breaking 20th against the depleted Kiwis team which seemed set to lose the series against a full-fledged West Indies outfit that has been strengthened with the inclusion of both Jamaican century-makers.
Gayle and Samuels were out of the West Indies team for various reasons but their class and ability to dominate were never in question after they had blossomed under Carl Hooper’s leadership during West Indies tour to India in 2002 when the WI team defeated the mighty Indians 4-3 in the ODI series.
During that series Gayle made three hundreds (103 in the 2nd match; 140 in the 4th and 101 in the 5th) while Samuels registered his maiden ton in the seventh and decisive match against the Indians.
It was his 36th match after making his ODI debut against Sri Lanka on October 4, 2000. Samuels scored an unbeaten 108 (75 balls) in the seventh ODIs at the Indira Gandhi Stadium and West Indies won the match by 135 runs and the series on November 24, 2002.
WI made 315 for 6 off 50 overs with Ramnaresh Sarwan 83 and Wavell Hinds 58 the other main contributors. Jermaine Lawson (4 for 57) and Gayle (3 for 22) were the chief wicket-takers. Samuels received the ‘Man of Match’ award and his class was evident.
Samuels got his second ODI century in his 78th match against Pakistan at the Multan Cricket Club ground on December 13, 2006. Pakistan were restricted to 209 (49.5 overs) while West Indies romped to victory by seven wickets with 15.1 overs to spare. Chanderpaul made 60 and shared a match-winning 141-run third-wicket partnership with Samuels who stroked one six and seventeen fours off 99 balls for an exact unbeaten hundred when victory was achieved.
Gayle scored his first ODI hundred against Kenya at the Simbu Union ground. Hooper was West Indies captain and the team amassed 311 for 4 off 50 overs. Gayle slammed 152 and with Daren Ganga posted 174 for the first-wicket partnership. Kenya were demolished 205 with Guyanese speedster Colin Stuart being the chief wrecker, claiming 5 wickets for 44 runs.
Samuels would have had pleasant memories on his return to the West Indies team which defeated the touring Indian team in the ODIs last year at Sabina Park. WI won the fifth match by seven wickets after Sarwan (75) and Darren Bravo (86) fashioned a match-winning third-wicket partnership worth 160 runs.
Samuels and Kieron Pollard were the not out batsmen on 28 and 24 respectively when victory was achieved. India 251 all out in 47.3 overs (Virat Kohli 94, Andre Russell 4 for 35) while West Indies replied with 255 for 3 in 48.4 overs.
Co-incidentally, Gayle’s record-equalling 19th ODI ton was against New Zealand at McClean Park on January 1, 2009.
He scored 135 while Chanderpaul made 94 out of the 293 for 9 wickets in 50 overs. In the rain-affected match; New Zealand won the match by seven runs via the Duckworth/Lewis System after New Zealand had reached 211 for 5.
Among the notable New Zealand stalwarts were Brendon McCullum, Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor, Mark Gillespie and skipper Daniel Vettori who played in that winning match are all unavailable for the current series for different reasons.
Taylor and Gillespie injured out during the current tour while Ryder has been disciplined and is out of international cricket for a protracted period. Experienced Vettori retired from ODIs and Twenty20Is but has just telegraphed his intention to return for the ICC T20 World Cup.
The dangerous McCullum, who missed the T20s in Florida and the first two ODIs; is expected to join the Kiwis for the third ODIs in St Kitts. His presence will definitely strengthen the struggling tourists whose reduced strength and experience as well as top class players made it easy for West Indies T20 and ODIs teams to dominate the series.
Gayle and Samuels would not mind the quality of the opposition. They have taken full advantage of the depleted Kiwis team and have further enhanced their reputation and international value in the limited-overs variety.
Gayle’s 2011 and 2012 prolific IPL batting form has endeared him to the international cricketing community. His return to the West Indies team has bolstered the batting line-up.
And it is no wonder that the WI teams, that suffered crushing defeats to the Englishmen during their recent tour to Great Britain; have been revitalised by Gayle with his powerful displays.
The Darren Sammy-led West Indies teams were completely outplayed, outthought, outclassed and embarrassed by the English teams in all three formats but with Gayle’s authoritative batting style and magnificent form there have been a change of fortunes against the weakened Kiwis and West Indian supporters are dancing again.
West Indies won the T20Is series in Florida while they have now taken a commanding 2-0 lead over the New Zealanders whose brittle batting line-up surprisingly extended the WI team in the Second ODI.
Scores: WI 315 for 5 in 50 overs (Gayle 125, Samuels 101 not out; Tim Southee 3 for 55); NZ 260 all out in 47 overs (Martin Guptill 51, Kane Williamson 58, Bradley-John Watling 72; Ravi Rampaul 3 for 50, Sunil Narine 2 for 45, Marlon Samuels 2 for 46).
West Indies team secured a 55-run victory in the Second One Day Internationals at Sabina where Gayle (with his new WI ODI centurion record) and Samuels (with his 3rd ODI hundred) and their loyal supporters celebrated their respective milestones and a comfortable WI win.
The Warner Park pitch and short boundary markers will provide more opportunities for Gayle, Samuels and others to plunder bigger scores against the Kiwis.
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