Twenty20 batting winner February 19, 2010

The old ultra-violence

Gayle tears the roof off the sucker

Best Twenty20 Batting Performance

Chris Gayle
88 v Australia
World Twenty20, The Oval

Brett Lee had never before or since been treated with the sort of disdain that Chris Gayle reserved for him at The Oval on June 6, 2009, and it's doubtful whether the grand old ground had ever seen hitting quite like it either.

In the space of 50 balls, Gayle slammed 88 runs of the most coolly destructive calibre, including six enormous sixes, one of which threatened the windows of the adjoining Archbishop Tennyson school, another of which landed on the roof of the Bedser Stand and was adjudged by one seasoned onlooker as the biggest strike he had witnessed since Clyde Walcott was in his prime.

Gayle's efforts eviscerated an Australian attack in which Lee returned figures of 1 for 56 in four overs, the most expensive in his country's Twenty20 history. Lee's third over, the fifth of the innings, was clobbered for 27, as West Indies hurtled to 83 for 0 in their six-over Powerplay.

A testing target of 171 had been broken in a trice, and so too had Australia's challenge in the World Twenty20. Having been placed in the so-called Group of Death, the trauma that Gayle caused left them in no fit state to take on the eventual finalists, Sri Lanka, in their second and final match at Trent Bridge two days later. Their campaign was over before it had begun, leaving them the best part of a fortnight to lick their wounds in Leicester and regroup ahead of the Ashes.

But more remarkable even than Gayle's performance was its context. Until the start of the tournament, the West Indies tour of England had been a shambles, and Gayle - as captain - had wilfully contributed to an atmosphere of unrestrained apathy. None of his team had even wanted to be in the country. The two-Test and three-ODI series that took place in May had been a late addition to their workload, following the cancellation of England's scheduled series against Zimbabwe, and Gayle had been plying his trade for Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL right up until the very eve of the first Test at Lord's. After a lethargic three-day defeat, his subsequent remarks about the future of Test cricket heaped further opprobrium onto his habitually shrugged shoulders.

But the manner in which he turned on the style at precisely the moment of his choosing beggared belief. As soon as May ticked over into June, Gayle's mind reunited with his body, and he blinked belligerently back into life. June 6 - D-Day no less - was the moment he had intended to turn up for duty, and he did with an intent that left even his most strident critics grinning at the audacity of his actions.

Thirteen days later, having sustained his team's momentum all the way to the semi-finals, Gayle signed off from the tournament with another extraordinary performance at The Oval, carrying his bat for 63 not out from 50 balls, in an innings in which no other batsman reached double figures. But just as his spectacular century had lit up the opening match of the 2007 World Twenty20 at Johannesburg, nothing could match the show-stopping violence of his tournament trendsetter.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kiefer on February 22, 2010, 4:19 GMT

    Sometimes he can seem like a wasted talent but then he will pull a great innings out of nowwhere and you wonder how he could not have better stats with his incredible talent.

  • spirit on February 20, 2010, 22:07 GMT

    @Great.Cricketer...dead wickets dont produce an innings defeat as happened to srilankan's and da pitch was a sporting pitch as confirmed by da pitch curator and experts,i dont see da reason y non-indians constantly whines about pitch constantly and undermean indian batsman's performance even when pitch is said to b a good one???regarding sachin's inning's he was single handedly took india within 3 runs of da target and dats outstanding comparable to gibbs 165 in the 434 chase(was dat a dead pitch too)

  • Great on February 20, 2010, 6:37 GMT

    It was great inning on bouncy wicket and world best pace attack. I do not know the crieteria to select best batting perfomance on dead wickets like shewag and sachin. Atleast look @ the pitches when looking for best perfomance.

  • Dummy4 on February 20, 2010, 4:18 GMT

    Chris Gayle deserves this award. The enormous six was really awesome. So easy in his stance, its quite remarkable how he hits it with ease, where the ball goes to the maximum distance..Wish him and the Windies all the very best and wish to see more hard hitting in the future.

  • Kenneth on February 19, 2010, 23:59 GMT

    Chris Gayle's performance at The Oval was nothing short of great entertainment, seeing him go after Brett Lee was Fantastic ..., I agree that was indeed the T20 Performance of 2009.

  • SUBRAMANIAN on February 19, 2010, 17:47 GMT

    Those 2 sixes into the adjoining school building and to the top of the high stand of The Oval will be a part of Folklore for Generation to come. Viru, Dil, Gilly or Boom Boom can be great Terrors but nothing when compared to the Power of The Jamaican..

  • Dummy4 on February 19, 2010, 17:16 GMT

    to me this was the best t20 innings ever played. those monsterous hits against bret lee were just a treat to watch. Gayle is powerful, ruthless (when in mood) and probably the most destructing hitter when it comes to hitting the cricket ball.

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