England v West Indies, World T20 2016, Group 1, Mumbai March 16, 2016

Gayle's 47-ball ton wipes out England

188

West Indies 183 for 4 (Gayle 100*) beat England 182 for 6 (Root 48, Russell 2-36) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Play 04:16
Match Day - Gayle's shot selection impeccable

Chris Gayle, at 36, knows that he could be playing his last World Twenty20 and, judging by the manner in which he pulverised England at the Wankhede, he intends to go out in style. England's bowlers began the night fretting about the dew, and ended it drenched to the skin by the sight of Gayle raining sixes into the sky.

Nobody has hit as many sixes in a World T20 innings as the 11 that Gayle despatched in Mumbai, breaking his own record of 10 against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2007 - his only previous T20I hundred. Seven flew down the ground, the other four further along the leg-side arc and apart from a leap from Joe Root in a failed attempt to intercept the one that brought up his 50, all England's fielders could do was watch.

Gayle's sauntering savagery presented West Indies with a six-wicket win with 11 balls to spare. He started his celebration a few runs early, bringing out an air-punching routine on reaching his hundred to send the crowd into raptures. From 47 balls, it was the fastest ever at a World T20 and third-fastest overall.

Brendon McCullum, freshly retired, began the night as the leading six-hitter in T20Is. By the end of it, Gayle had passed him by a considerable distance. His involvement in Australia's Big Bash had been tarnished by criticism for his manner in an on-field interview: perhaps he had retribution in mind.

England, having set a par score of 182 for the Wankhede, will conclude it was just one of those nights, but their bowling line-up had looked flaky in the final stages of a bilateral series in South Africa and they had little answer to Gayle. Moeen Ali was in the eye of the storm, conceding 33 from 14 balls, including three sixes in a row, all of them in his favourite area down the ground, two of them on the full.

India, the tournament favourites, had already been toppled on a dry pitch in Nagpur by an unsung trio of New Zealand spinners. No country has won the World T20 more than once, but it will be West Indies who will have the sharpest sense after this victory that they have the wherewithal to take the trophy a second time.

The night was wet enough for the authorities to decide that play should be held up midway through West Indies' innings to allow machinery to dry the outfield and ensure an even contest, an uncommon intervention. At 85 for 2, West Indies were well in control and, having won the toss, would have been happy with as much dew on the outfield as they could get, but Gayle made such a debate an irrelevance. It was a wrecking-ball innings, an assault of brutal simplicity.

The first warning for England of trouble ahead came when Ben Stokes struggled to cope with the dew in his first over. England had more towels available than the average swimming pool, but Stokes conceded three fours and a free hit to Marlon Samuels in an over characterised by a full toss and a misfield. What dampness the dew wasn't causing, the nerves were.

Gayle watched all this contentedly from the non-striker's end, his eye already in after despatching two half-volleys for 10 in Reece Topley's opening over. He faced only six balls in the first 32, but as destructive batsmen go, he likes to take a long, lingering look, and from what he could tell things were going extremely well.

Samuels holed out against Adil Rashid at long-on, his 37 from 27 having given West Indies the edge. It was time for Gayle to stir in the form of two successive sixes off Rashid, the first of them an 89 metre blow down the ground and into the top tier.

Others were less successful. Denesh Ramdin scratched and scraped to no effect and, although Reece Topley's back-of-the-hand slower ball against Dwayne Bravo arrived as a thigh-high full toss, he planted it into the hands of deep midwicket. It was fortunate that full tosses were bringing wickets because England were bowling more of them than they would have liked.

Andre Russell stayed with Gayle as he claimed the contest in emphatic style. Rashid, regarded pre-tournament as a key England bowler, delivered only two overs - the dew doubtless a factor for Eoin Morgan, England's captain.

The Wankhede was expected to hearten the quicks and the pitch was green, but it proved deceptive as there was no seam movement of note, a fact illustrated by Bravo, one of many seasoned West Indies campaigners, who set the tone when England batted with an opening over comprising six slower balls.

The most important slower ball belonged to Russell, who caused Root to hack to mid-off, ending a verve-filled 48 from 36 balls. The most striking was Bravo's who left Stokes floundering blindly, lbw in the final over.

The last time Stokes played West Indies in T20, he famously punched a dressing room locker in frustration, broke his wrist and missed 2014 World T20 as a result and the dismissal must have been irksome enough for England's coaching staff to consider turning the changing room into a padded cell before his return.

England's side could show only 23 international appearances in India, with seven playing their first international in the country. The experience rested with West Indies, a team of old stagers, battle hardened in T20 leagues around the globe, and recognising this might be their last chance to follow up the World T20 prize they won in Sri Lanka four years ago.

England might have played carefree T20 cricket since their debacle at the 2015 World Cup forced a change of mentality, but the daring nature of their batting has not quite disguised the vulnerability of their pace attack. Nerveless cricket is tougher, too, at a high-profile tournament and only five runs came from the first two overs in which both Jason Roy and Alex Hales might have been run out.

England escaped. Hales took three successive boundaries off Samuel Badree, back in a West Indies side for the first time since 2014, an absence caused by injury, dengue fever and a lack of fixtures, the assault damaging the career figures that make him the most economical regular bowler in T20Is.

England had only lost Roy by midway, whipping Russell to midwicket. Hales was cleverly yorked by Sulieman Benn and two outstanding boundary saves by Russell suggested that this West Indies side might be older than they feel, even if the golden Mohican was in evidence to less impressive effect when Root drilled a full toss from Bravo down the ground and received a bonus boundary that he could not have envisaged.

England's best batting moments came from Root, seeking to add lusty blows to his deftness of touch, and a melancholy-eyed 30 from Jos Buttler, who will soon be seen at the Wankhede for Mumbai Indians in IPL. Three sixes will have whetted the appetite, but long before the end England had stood back to allow the giant of T20 cricket to soak up the cheers.

David Hopps is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • D.S.A on March 18, 2016, 3:43 GMT

    The latter 2 have the typical E fast bowler's mentality: "I brute strength, I fast, no thinky, I bowl, concede boundaries, repeat for next match, repeat for next tournament, retire with little success, become supposedly knowledgable pundit, duhhhhhh"...oh wait...

    What brilliant returns from Stokes in limited-overs cricket. Keep him for Tests; he is a liability in l-o cricket, but you'd know this if you've assessed him objectively. Nothing's changed from Oct 2014.

    I can understand Rashid not bowling 4 overs, but if Morgan can give Stokes a 3rd, then there's no excuse to not give Rashid his 3rd. Stokes went for 32 in 2 overs; Rashid went for 20. Pace will not dominate the world, England! I think Ali might've missed out in dismissing Gayle (not that it's just his responsibility). With Gayle charging him, maybe Ali could've pushed it wide, concede the wide, and hope Buttler catches the ball and gets a stumping. Gayle wasn't moving leg-side, but he was leaving his crease. P6 of many.

  • D.S.A on March 18, 2016, 2:42 GMT

    @fidler: OAP squad? What's getting old is that illogic. Only 4 are not 'cricket' young, and still, they have many years left in them, as well as legit skill (Gayle and Tahir are 36, so they don't have skill because of their age, right? You'd better tell the WICB and CSA to not pick them as they can't play in the next 5 tourneys, lol). Hilarious. Players should be picked for the present, not uncertain future gains. That is what every other country does, and they are absolutely right to do so. You've been proven wrong, yet you deny it stoutly, lol. You don't see it working? That's not my fault. Like I said, why's this the 1st time you've broken down an innings by Morgan? This has been your 1st chance from many innings, so you've highlighted your opportunism in doing so now. Btw, was it match-winning? Answer that. Still, keep bragging about it, haha. If China took cricket seriously, they would beat most, including England, lol.

  • D.S.A on March 18, 2016, 1:41 GMT

    @dezzy: You revisionists are hilarious. I said England have a greater chance of victory because of the missing players for the West Indies (Simmons, Pollard and Narine) and the turmoil with Sri Lanka, so the semis are likely (not that I thought it was going to happen). I also said Eng should be even more ashamed of losing to both of them as those 2 teams are significantly weaker than normal, making this tournament their best chance to do so in a while. Never was I confident that Eng would beat the WI as I know what the WI still had left, such is their strength in the format. They have already lost to 1 of them, and now face the all-round, best side in the group, in South Africa, and a loss all but guarantees elimination, though not technically. I am predicting a loss here, to be clear! There's no need to lie. Just accept you were wrong. I have been vindicated in 1 match, and SA will finish off the job. If SA keep their last batting order, Eng might not even face de Villiers at 4, lol.

  • D.S.A on March 18, 2016, 1:36 GMT

    Now England have been defeated, what do Eng do now? Mathematically, I think 2 wins out of 4 can still lead to qualification, though huge, unrealistic assumptions are made, and equally, 3 wins out of 4 doesn't guarantee progression (on NRR). With THIS squad, and given this might be Eng's last meaningful match, the benched players deserve their chance to alter Eng's campaign before it is pointless, so: Vince for Roy, Billings for Morgan, Plunkett for Stokes, and if conditions are spin-friendly, Dawson for Willey. The 2nd and 3rd will never be allowed to happened, though Plunkett will probably come in for someone else. I don't see Billings dislodging anyone (other than a bowler, like that genius move in the 2nd T20I on the tour of South Africa, lol) and likewise for Dawson. Vince, however, is a somewhat-likely change that could happen, given his exploits in the UAE (for Eng, not Karachi) unless they don't want months of "Hales and Roy" talk to be disintegrated in a flash. P7 of many.

  • D.S.A on March 18, 2016, 1:30 GMT

    I said it before, and I will repeat: promoting Buttler to 4 after every good start is a tired tactic already; it's not a surprise anymore, and teams now plan for that as it is so predictable. Mr Lucky Charms tries to prove he is innovative, yet ironically, he is rehashing the same tactic again, again, and again. What is he getting by promoting Buttler?... He doesn't even trust his own ability, after a good start, to take advantage of it, and it backfired as he scored faster than Buttler, while restricting the number of balls he could face, to his and England's detriment. Ah, the irony! I said Morgan only scores runs when it is easy to, and as shown, many batsmen scored quickly, and he has been out-done...AGAIN! @fidler: Why is this the 1st time you've provided a breakdown? No other chance, huh? Lol.

    England got unstuck by the slower bowlers and changes of pace, yet England only had 2 slower bowlers in their flawed 11. P3 of many.

  • D.S.A on March 18, 2016, 1:28 GMT

    What was Roy's innings all about? He was putting his wrists into almost every shot, as if he was copying Kohli's bat swing when he clips balls off his pads (the bottom of the bat ends up higher than his head) except Roy is nowhere close to Kohli's ability. There's a difference between adapting to conditions and copying one's technique, and that was embarrassing. An truly awful innings overall. Hales took a few balls to get going, but took down Badree, which is impressive. He didn't get moving from then though, and Benn bowled a wonderfully flighted yorker to end his innings. Hales is allowed to fail, as he has been partly carrying this team, and has previous in match-winning innings in big matches. Root's innings was ok, but saying 180 is a good score was incorrect, and if his innings was based on that target, he, and England, must learn to assess a legit par score quickly, as he was blatantly wrong, even when he had hindsight available. P2 of many.

  • D.S.A on March 18, 2016, 1:21 GMT

    I'll start off with England's 2nd warm-up game. Morgan's decided that Plunkett should only get 3 overs, despite not being a certainty in his view. So despite L.P bowling well, he isn't given a 4th over, so you'd think L.P has proven his point, AGAIN, hence no 4th over. However, an irrelevant hat-trick by Willey apparently outdoes L.P's efforts and despite his performances, he gets benched for no real reason. A clearly superior player gets limited opportunities and is then dropped even after doing well...just the same as what they did to Bopara and Tredwell last year. The irony is L.P did something that many English players in the eleven (Roy, Morgan, Stokes etc) haven't done: merited his spot. So, now the match, Morgan, the captain, fails before a ball is bowled by not picking his best fast bowler in an already flawed squad. The West Indies go in with the best that they have available (no Simmons, Pollard and Narine). P1 of many.

  • ns1000 on March 18, 2016, 0:12 GMT

    Amazing innings by Gayle but that is how the win blows. I can't imagine SA, AUS and others won't figure out a way to keep him down in future matches. If they don't, then WI lifts the T20 cup yet again but probably not. SA, AUS, NZ and ENG remain my favorites with PAK/SL as the dark horses.

  • Phat-Boy on March 17, 2016, 22:50 GMT

    @MAGNETOELECRIC_PULL good one mate. Gayle has hit 2 hundreds in SA, 2 in consecutive tests in Australia (one off 72 balls, the other an 8 hour epic to save a game), a double in NZ to save a match, a triple in Sri Lanka against Murali etc etc. He has had a 15 year ODI career where he has averaged 40 and made runs everywhere. And he is unquestionably the finest T20 player of all time. Kohli is more consistent, yes, but it is a lot easier to be consistent when you score noticeably slower, don't face the new ball, and get a not-out every 4th time you bat. (Gayle finishes not-out every 11th time he bats). Stop trying to take the gloss off a remarkable knock.

  • D.S.A on March 17, 2016, 19:34 GMT

    It makes even more sense, especially if he doesn't want to bowl himself (which is odd as medium-pace worked), Pollard is absent, and he's a quicker scorer than Ramdin. Ramdin's only role with the bat should be coming in at 4 after 2 early wickets, otherwise, he should be below Brathwaite.

    Gayle's innings was phenomenal, yet one can't be surprised anymore. I said he'd be amped to make up for a bad PSL and no major score in the warm-up, and so it proved...and how! Indeed, there are matches where Gayle is NEAR-unstoppable, but that doesn't mean the bowlers are exempted from failure and that nothing can be done; the latter's a loser's mentality. If you've that mindset, then don't play as you don't add to international cricket. While I think Topley is a very different fast bowler with a different perspective on fast bowling (hence I expect him to bounce back), and Jordan nailing his yorkers well nowadays, the other fast bowlers in Willey and Stokes do not ever seem to learn. P5 of many.

  • No featured comments at the moment.