Australia v WI, 2nd semi-final, World Twenty20, Colombo

'Gangnam' Gayle liberates West Indies

His desire to contribute to his team's success has rarely been stronger. The team itself is threatening to turn the Gangnam Style dance into a story of Caribbean resurgence

David Hopps in Colombo

October 5, 2012

Comments: 53 | Text size: A | A

Chris Gayle celebrates his fifty, Australia v West Indies, 2nd semi-final, World Twenty20 2012, Colombo, October 5, 2012
Forty-one balls was enough for him to make 75 not out. He does not need long to make an impact © Associated Press

"If you can knock Chris Gayle over early…" mused Australia's captain, George Bailey, ahead of their World Twenty20 semi-final against West Indies. And if you can't, George? If you can't, the night will end in the way you must have secretly feared it might, with the entire West Indies team, Gayle at the centre, with grin as broad as his broadest of bats, dancing to "Gangnam Style".

"Gangnam Style", by the South Korean rapper PSY, is a satire of life south of the river in Seoul, where cool and style are held to predominate. But now there is a PS to PSY and it has been provided by the West Indies cricket team who are threatening to turn the dance into a story of Caribbean resurgence.

"It just happened," Gayle said. "It wasn't really planned. That's me. Depending on what type of mood I'm in, I do something crazy. It's a good dance."

Twenty20 might be hard to predict, but somehow, out of it all, we have got a fitting final: Sri Lanka, increasingly powerful as the tournament progressed, symbolising the growing confidence of a nation freed from terrorist war, against a West Indies side which was strongly fancied before the tournament began and which put its inconsistencies behind it to produce an emphatic performance when it mattered.

Australia did not get Gayle out, but they did manage to limit him to 41 balls, little more than 30% of the strike, which on many nights would count as a job well done. For large clumps of the innings, he stood at the non-striker's end, under-utilised, overlooked. But those 41 balls were enough for him to make 75 not out. He does not need long to make an impact.

Gayle's career has been that of a rebel - "Me talk with my mouth and me talk with my bat," he once observed in an unfavourable critique of West Indies cricket - but in this tournament his desire to contribute to his team's success has rarely been stronger. He met Mitchell Starc, Australia's dangerman, with respect; he was as selective in his strokeplay as he surely ever has been in T20; he even looked, goddammit, as if he was intent from the outset to try to bat through the innings.

If he bestrode the scene, this was far from a solo performance. As he stood at the non-striker's end, a hulk of a man with chain lolling idly over his maroon shirt, he must have liked what he saw. Marlon Samuels was a polished understudy (the Yohan Blake to Gayle's Usain Bolt), Dwayne Bravo produced his most vigorous innings of the tournament, and the final partnership between Gayle and Kieron Pollard was a rumbustious affair, 65 from 25 balls, between two outrageously powerful men who did not much fancy running and did not need to.

He was caught once, off Xavier Doherty, but the catch was held by a policeman 20 yards beyond the boundary boards, lurking behind the sponsor's motorbike. That is a pretty nifty fielding position for Gayle when he is in full flow. Australia's only hope was that under Sri Lankan law, a clean catch would allow the policeman to commandeer the bike and ride onto the square to arrest Gayle for a public order offence.

Australia's only hope was that under Sri Lankan law, a clean catch would allow the policeman to commandeer the bike and ride onto the square to arrest Gayle for a public order offence

He has one chief hitting arc, in the general area of long-on, but Australia's bowlers, like many before them, could not prevent him from insouciantly depositing the ball in that direction. His most imperious blow came against the offspin of David Hussey, who had been called up for his first game of the tournament, and whose reward was to disappear into the second tier of the stand. The blow was measured at 104 metres, the joint-longest six of the tournament.

By then, Gayle had received treatment after being winded. He was feeling short of breath, his heart pumping, enough to slightly disturb him, which brought him down to Pollard's speed between the wickets. They lumbered a two through mid-on with the reluctance of a couple of old stagers in a club match, but how they hit. Pollard's assault on Doherty in the last over was brutal. The more jauntily Doherty tried to run up, the more his face clenched in concentration, the more his left-arm spin pitched, for him, in the most inconvenient places.

It was Pollard, not Gayle, who played the most outrageous shot of the night, a 93mph yorker from Pat Cummins which Pollard dug free with such strength that the ball scooted around the ground and split midwicket and long-on. Just getting a ball like that off the square is an achievement.

There is something about Australia's attack which delights West Indies. It is the sort of fixture where sixes rain down and they need to buy in extra fireworks for behind the scoreboard. They have taken Australia for two of the three highest scores in the tournament, also making 191 for 8 against them in the qualifying stage, only to lose on Duckworth-Lewis.

Gayle took some time checking things out. It is rare that he bats with such a strong sense of care and concentration. He begins every innings by crouching on his haunches, not as much an exercise routine as a feline stretch, an attempt to settle his mind, get into the zone. For nearly five overs, the Australian attack was cased and the tension in the crowd was palpable when he finally awoke to crash Shane Watson for six over extra cover.

In one shot, the mood of the game changed. Gayle was on the move, the x-man was about to happen. Fourteen times, the West Indies cleared the ropes, fireworks studded the night sky and the West Indies batting was liberated.

They have one more challenge, but Sri Lanka, wonderfully marshalled, brimming with confidence and originality, and yearning for their first victory in a major tournament since 1996, will be the biggest challenge of all.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (October 6, 2012, 18:04 GMT)

GAYLE is such a multi character and a man full of entertainment either it is a matter of hitting 6s or dancing, he is a complete package and one of the cleanest hitter. He will be the biggest threat to Srilankans in the final. I think west indies' cricket is improving and they are alSo coming amongst top teams..

Posted by spinkingKK on (October 6, 2012, 16:09 GMT)

Srilanka will be a no-match for the West Indies.

Posted by desilvac39 on (October 6, 2012, 15:01 GMT)

I am a Sri Lankan and this is just remind to Indian fans we were came to final for 3 ocations and this is the 4th time for last 5 years. India just only mange to won world cup because of the luck of Dhoni. So Sri Lankan cricket is well ahead than Indian cricket. You are talking about Kholi,Dhoni,Raina,Sewag and Yuvaraj but your team atleast not selected for semi finals. Indian fans please shout you mouths and watch how Sri Lankan team will lift the world cup on tmr. And all the very best to West Indies but lions will remove Gayle within 1st three overs.

Posted by t20-2007 on (October 6, 2012, 13:45 GMT)

love to see both the teams ( Australia and Pakistan) who conspired to keep india out of the tournament is back in the hut.Aussies whr always mediocre team but sm how thr weakness is shielded by watson ...not today.Good luck to WI and of great cricketers.

Posted by   on (October 6, 2012, 11:59 GMT)

Being a Pakistani, SL always there to help us out, To most of Pakistanis, SL is there next best team... But wait... at least I am going to Support WI in the final, Would love to see cleanest hitting one time more, As for Aus, i guess they peaked too early in the tournament

Posted by   on (October 6, 2012, 11:59 GMT)

Being a Pakistani, SL always there to help us out, To most of Pakistanis, SL is there next best team... But wait... at least I am going to Support WI in the final, Would love to see cleanest hitting one time more, As for Aus, i guess they peaked too early in the tournament

Posted by   on (October 6, 2012, 11:36 GMT)

@Al-Bundy1.Good comments mate.At least you are realistic unlike most of the others of your land. They are just playing up for '' sour grapes''.Feel extremely sorry for them.Any way great performance by Gayle and the company.Hope for a thriller tommorow. It doesn't matter who wins as both teams deserve to be there .We have no high egos and we just simply believe in skills and hard work.We don't believe our teams should be worshiped by everybody else and let that spirit prevail tommorow. All the best to both teams .However, my heart goes for SL...

Posted by asif616 on (October 6, 2012, 11:30 GMT)


Posted by   on (October 6, 2012, 10:39 GMT)

I just feel that Westindies should win World Cup this time for their people and for all the fans.....and Just hoping that Gayle delivers one final blow :) We need one more flawless performance from Gayle and Pollard :)..........They deserve to win :) And I would be delighted to see them dance after they have won the Cup :)

Posted by Vilander on (October 6, 2012, 10:11 GMT)

cant say how happy i am to see Windies back, and Gayle,pollard being themselfs...congrats from India.. :), you would have smashed us to smithereenes, even Aus did that to us wonder what would WI have done to Ind team if we played you..Win thew cup champs..

Posted by withwateen on (October 6, 2012, 10:08 GMT)

you can never put them away from celebrating no matter even if they are face a big defeat...well done Gangman WI (GWI) :-)

Posted by   on (October 6, 2012, 9:20 GMT)

We doing it again Sunday Gangnam Style XX Very exhilarating match allround. The match up against Sri Lanka would characterize a resurgence of West Indian Cricket to the top. #WI# celabrating all the way

Posted by ms2000 on (October 6, 2012, 9:04 GMT)

Indian always lived on dreams! They never accepted that thy got one of the worst T20 teams in the world! They cnt stand that SL is in the final. Guys accept the reality!

Posted by   on (October 6, 2012, 9:01 GMT)

I am watching the west indies since their international standard fall down, but every dark night is having its dawn, So it has come now! Gayle is brilliant! We must praise the God for this great revival in West indies cricket team. God bless you all, we hope you are the best to have the victory over Sri Lanka, Gayle, do the batting in same style which you did in Semi. I told to my brother one night before, Gayle should to calm himself, let the boys to flourish! Boys did the great job under the shadow of Great Master of T20. We loves you all west indies players from Pakistan.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (October 6, 2012, 8:48 GMT)

Congratulations to the WIndies on reaching the final. Reading most of the comments here it seems that the final is now no more than a formality, with SL marked down for the next team to be blitzed by Gayle & co. This, however, is T20 & there is a crucial amount of plain old luck floating around, far more than is found in other formats. It begins with the toss. Then there are crucial calls to be made by the captains & in this respect I'm looking forward to Sammy's battle with Mahela. I have these two down as the best captains seen in this tournament (although Hafeez has been good). Indeed, there is a case for stating that Sammy's role is captain, pure & simple. SL will have frenetic home support of course; that must count for something. Then what happens if Gayle fails to fire? Ah, there are brave people hereabouts who have called this match before it's begun. I don't make predictions, but I have a feeling that it may well be a damned close run thing. May the better team win!

Posted by   on (October 6, 2012, 8:09 GMT)


Posted by ReverseSweepIndia on (October 6, 2012, 6:35 GMT)

I predict a bad news coming SL's way. Gayle was always dangerous. But what makes things different this time is, that he is enjoying his game.

Posted by Aaryabhatta on (October 6, 2012, 6:29 GMT)

Go W.Indies ,win d from India

Posted by Raghavendra79 on (October 6, 2012, 6:13 GMT)

I pray god, let WI win this tournament. After 2 major events and ICC trophy they never won any major event. Let Gayle produce one more entertainment in final that too against Malinga...............Gud Luck Gayle...............

Posted by dhoni_sachin_fan on (October 6, 2012, 5:37 GMT)

If there is one team that everyone will be happy for if they win, it is West Indies. This is their best ever T20 squad. They deserve to win. Wish them luck in the final.

Posted by Anandsusie on (October 6, 2012, 5:20 GMT)

hey Guys it has happened many times that Gayle power as brought his team to the final, but gayle has a below par performances all the time in every finals he has been a part off, so the stats are against the WINDIES. but i wish them to lift the trophy, Sorry for SL. Bowling of WINDIES is also a concern apart frm Sunil. any how GOOD LUCK WINDIES WIN it anyhow,

Posted by   on (October 6, 2012, 4:56 GMT)

@Jimbond - If you have watched the match, you will know that its not Gayle alone who did the damage.Pollard and Bravo are brilliant too.And the bowling? I bet Narine is better than any Mendis (both Jeevan and Ajantha), Ravi Rampaul is better than Malinga ... so it doesnt surprise me that WIndies actually thrashed Australia.What surprised me is the margin of defeat

Posted by   on (October 6, 2012, 4:54 GMT)

If Windies can score 200 against Australia, I'm sure they can score even more against Srilanka. Ajantha Mendis went for 40 with out a wicket the other day, Malinga is well aware of what guys like Kohli, Gayle or Pollard can do it him on any given day.Kula ? LOL. Jeevan and Herath ... may be, but Sure not good enough to stop Gayle storm.Well, good luck to the spectators and I hope none of them will be hurt when Pollard or Gayle is batting. We cant save the SL bowlers from thrashing though

Posted by fearless69 on (October 6, 2012, 4:37 GMT)

Hahahaha Gayle Storm striked.. What a destructive player of recent era, a nightmare for aussies.. I just loved their celebrations every time when a aussie wicket fell.. Shane whatson was burning but couldn't do anything.. LOL .. David Warner too paid for showing attitude while he came out to bat.. Aussies paid for their doings.. I just loved it.. Malinga needs to grow hair on his face now, he'll need to hide his face after the final match.. Gayle Storm will strike back.. YES we are with you Gayle.. From INDIA..

Posted by   on (October 6, 2012, 4:29 GMT)

Oppa Gangnam Style... Hahaha funny Chris Gayle :)

Posted by   on (October 6, 2012, 4:15 GMT)

Smashing this Aussie attacke is one thing, Smashing the likes of Malinga,Mendis,Kule,Herath/Danajaya,Tissara,Mathews and J.Mendis is another thing

Posted by   on (October 6, 2012, 3:48 GMT)

Satya: You think SL will win in a one-sided affair?

Well, I reckon you will be disappointed when the dusts settle and the air is cleared.

The Windies will maul the home-town heroes!

Posted by jimbond on (October 6, 2012, 2:52 GMT)

Please dont generalise. T20 is a one man game. If instead of Gayle, Watson had fired, the result would have been exactly the opposite. Only a brave man will predict in this hit or miss format where luck is as important as skills. One day it will be Mcullum, another day it could be Morgan/Yuvraj, Gayle another day. Good to sit and watch the fireworks and the bowlers getting hammered. Or lets have normal sized boundaries and no fielding restrictions and then see where these big boys land up.

Posted by gtzshotta on (October 6, 2012, 2:43 GMT)

West Indies will beat SL. Gayle will post a mammoth score based on his fail in the last match vs Sri Lanka.

Posted by Sinhabahu on (October 6, 2012, 2:16 GMT)

What a superb exhibition of batting that was! But I hope they don't repeat this in the final hehe.

Posted by jango_moh on (October 6, 2012, 2:02 GMT)

wat a bashing!!!!! i sincerely hope WI win the WC, they hve such talented hitters, they deserve it in this format... it will give them a much needed boost!!!!

Posted by Meety on (October 6, 2012, 1:31 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge on (October 05 2012, 20:25 PM GMT) - how did England go in the Super 8s?

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (October 6, 2012, 1:25 GMT)

I feel so GODLY. I predicted a massacre of Australia in the semifinal and now we have it as official. What a game by the WI. Australia were always average. Besides Watson and Warner, their batting was below par. Their bowling wasn't that good either and I knew sooner or later they would be found out. Well, they were indeed found out by the brilliance of Gayle and co. Now let's finally have the ultimate clash between two good teams to make it to the final.

Posted by gularan on (October 6, 2012, 0:51 GMT)

The powers that be have decided that the two most deserving teams in the tournament have qualified for a humdinger of a final. Good luck to both of them and may the more adventurous team win amen! It would be wise for Dilshan to take a leaf out of Gayle's book and observe and follow his meathodology of going about his inings

Posted by   on (October 6, 2012, 0:41 GMT)

""WALOOOOOOOOOOOOO........P !!!!!!!!!!" We love Tony Greig here in SL!

Posted by   on (October 5, 2012, 23:48 GMT)

@kirvann Samlal...WI and gangnam here to stay bro...

Posted by jalebi_bai on (October 5, 2012, 23:24 GMT)

GAYLE DAAAA MAAAAAANNNNNNNN Now smash the Lankans also like this and bring them down to the earth. Your fan from India.

Posted by sirviv on (October 5, 2012, 22:32 GMT)

This article makes me think about two things. Why did England omit their best T20 player and why cant Afridi learn a thing or two from Chris Gayle. Although these two questions are unrelated, the one common point is the feorcity with which all three are able to hit the cherry, allthough one of the three clearly displayed he is a spent force. Guess who...

Posted by BRUTALANALYST on (October 5, 2012, 21:52 GMT)

@AncientAstronaut Yeh that would be good if W.I actually got some proper series first ! After this WorldCup W.I have a tour of AUSTRALIA In February that does not include 1 test match it is 5 Odi's and obviously just the 1 T20 as they don't fancy their chances v W.I in that format despite the crowd and $ it would bring in for them hahaha and then there is no cricket for W.I until the Champions trophy in June

Posted by HK_Sachin on (October 5, 2012, 21:45 GMT)

Battle hardened thanks to WICBs apathy and IPL's abundance. The talented super talented WI side will hopefully wake up again to rise to gold old glory? :-)

Posted by InnocentGuy on (October 5, 2012, 21:32 GMT)

@UjjawalAgarwal, he says a little MORE than 30%

Posted by   on (October 5, 2012, 21:28 GMT)

SL vs WI will be a one-sided game on Sunday. SL will win. Gayle will be out early in the innings. Mark my words. I would not be disappointed if WI win though.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (October 5, 2012, 21:25 GMT)

Watching Doherty get smashed for six after six after six was pure comedy.

Australia have the worst spinners in the world, and have had the cupboard so bare for so long. Let's not forget their endless slide down, started by England thrashing them time and time again, to the netherworld of amateurish, boring cricket.

When those useless Australian coaching staff try to investigate what went wrong in this game, and build a video analyesis list, try looking at replays of that final Doherty over for starters. What a joke.

Posted by cooljack_143 on (October 5, 2012, 21:16 GMT)


Posted by   on (October 5, 2012, 20:48 GMT)

The Windies are gellin' at the right time. It is their WC to lose, as SL have reputation for chokin's at the Big Dance!

Go Windies! Go Gayle!

Posted by JustIPL on (October 5, 2012, 20:44 GMT)

Windies have come so far after they showed the number one test team of the past order of the day before their whitewash tour of England. It seems that they are over the rebuilding period and towards building the force of future.

Posted by cyberstudent on (October 5, 2012, 20:23 GMT)

very well played WI, deserve to win... hope Gayle can fire in the Final...but SRILANKA will have a strong plan ready against him.. they will deploy early mystery spinners against him or Kulasekra will bowl off cutters to him...

Posted by   on (October 5, 2012, 20:22 GMT)

Gayle... THE PREDATOR of Cricket...!!!

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (October 5, 2012, 20:18 GMT)

Excellent batting by the West Indians! The same bowlers that looked liked tigers against India were made to look like harmless pussy cats by Gayle and Co. In India there are only 2 people who can clobber bowlers like that - Yuvraj, who was not 100% fit, and Yusuf Pathan, who was not selected because he was woefully out of form. Sehwag is so out of shape and out of form, he can barely hit a four, and Gambhir can't stop poking outside off. We need a couple of strong batsmen who are not scared of fast bowlers. Can't we find them in 1 billion+ people?

Posted by sunsion on (October 5, 2012, 20:11 GMT)

David Hopps, You missed entirely three wickets taken by Rampaul. He is genuine fast bowler has helped West Indies a lot in last couple of years. Three wickets for 16 runs in this game was an outstanding contribution. Bowling out best team of heavily favorite Aussie team for 139 runs was a great bowers' contribution .

S Jhobalia USA

Posted by   on (October 5, 2012, 19:59 GMT)

gangnam style 4eva!!! october de 7th....WI will own the T20I world!!!

Posted by AncientAstronaut on (October 5, 2012, 19:48 GMT)

Gayle is undoubtedly the greatest T20 player so far. WI got him back at just the right time, and it looks like he will reward WI fans with a world cup. Hope WI can carry this form to ODIs and Tests as well. It's good to seem them winning again.

Posted by UjjawalAgarwal on (October 5, 2012, 19:43 GMT)

41 BALLS out of 120 is not less than 30%

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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