Cricket is getting more entertaining day by day, especially after the introduction of the popular Twenty20 format. Fast scoring in the shortest version of the game has also affected ODIs and Tests.
When we talk about entertainment in cricket, there can be few more exciting sights than Chris Gayle batting at his best – whenever he does the spectators are on their feet.
The recently concluded ODI series against England was one of the best for Gayle. He crushed England with big hitting on his West Indies return.
In the first ODI, Gayle celebrated his comeback with his 24th century. During his 135 runs innings he smashed 12 sixes and three fours. With his brutal hitting West Indies posted 360-8, their biggest total at home and the best against England.
During this innings, the West Indian batsmen hit world record 23 sixes, beating the record of 22 the West Indies conceded to New Zealand in 2014.
In the fifth ODI, Gayle reached his half-century off just 19 balls, the fastest by a West Indies batsman. He surpassed former captain Darren Sammy’s 20-ball record that he had achieved twice.
Gayle ended the series with 424 runs at an average of 106. He hit two tons and two fifties, securing the Man-of-the-Series award.
Gayle is now the second oldest to win a Man-of-the-Series award in ODIs (39 years and 162 days). The oldest is South Africa’s Imran Tahir, who was 39 years & 193 days old when he bagged the prize against Zimbabwe in 2018.
Gayle scored 135, 50, 162 and 77 in the series. He now stands with Kumar Sangakkara and AB de Villiers with 25 ODI centuries.
The second highest run-getter of the series was England’s captain Eoin Morgan, but he was far behind with 256 runs. During the series Morgan became the first English player to go past 6000 ODI runs.
Gayle hit 39 sixes in the series – a record for a bilateral ODI series. He surpassed the record held by India’s Rohit Sharma who hit 23 against Australia at home in 2013.
The left-hander has now struck 314 sixes in ODIs. He is 37 sixes behind Shahid Afridi, who holds the record with 351 sixes. But Gayle is at the top of the six hitters list when all three formats’ statistics are combined. He has smashed as many as 515 sixes in Tests, ODIs and T20Is.
Gayle, however, denied that the series against England was his best. “My better ODI form was in India when Carl Hooper was captain, I made three centuries in that series and I made two here,” he said.
Gayle has hinted he could reverse his decision to retire from ODI cricket after the upcoming World Cup. Before the England series he had announced that he would quit international 50-overs cricket at the end of this summer’s World Cup.
The 39-year-old Gayle (10,151) is just 254 runs away from Brian Lara (10,405) in ODIs.
The performance against England must have boosted the confidence of the master blaster that will be valuable for the West Indies in the World Cup in England.
In the second ODI at Grenada, 46 sixes were hit: 24 by England and 22 by West Indies. The previous highest number of sixes was 38 – scored in the match between India and Australia in Bengaluru in 2013.
A record 532 runs came in boundaries in this ODI. The previous record was 504 runs – set at the Wanderers in 2006.
Despite Gayle’s master blaster performance, the West Indies failed to win the series. They have not won a bilateral ODI series since 2014.
NOTE: All statistics updated till the end of WI-England ODI series.