Gayle, Samuels end five-year break in style
Nottingham, July 7, 2007. Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels had a 15-run partnership during a 93-run victory against England. Little did they know then that it was the last time they would bat together in an ODI for five years. Both batsmen were kept out of the West Indies side for different reasons but on July 7, 2012, Gayle and Samuels, both Jamaicans, renewed their association and marked the occasion with centuries against New Zealand at Sabina Park.
Gayle made 125 off 107 balls, his 20th one-day century, which took him past Brian Lara's West Indies record of 19. For Samuels, the unbeaten 101 was only his third hundred but it was his first in the Caribbean. Their 129-run partnership for the third wicket was the highest in West Indies total of 315 and set up a 55-run victory.
"I played exactly the way I wanted to today," Samuels, who was Man of the Match, said. "Chris set the stage with his power at the top of the innings and then I was able to come in and add the finishing touches. It was an enjoyable day for me and the team. It was special to do it with so many people who have done so much for me in my life watching.
"It is my first hundred in the Caribbean, the others have been away. The others have been out of my 'comfort zone' ... but this one has been in my 'comfort zone'. It's been a while since I last batted with Chris, so batting with him today was wonderful."
Gayle hit nine sixes in his innings and could have gone on to make a huge score had he not been dismissed in the 38th over. He too had praise for Samuels. "I felt he [Samuels] played really well and I'm happy for him," Gayle said. "He is a quality player and to see him get a hundred after I got one earlier in the innings is something special."
Gayle was also pleased with the manner in which West Indies had kept New Zealand under pressure from the start of the game. "We have been playing good cricket against New Zealand from the start of the series in Florida last week and we have continued that good work here in Jamaica," he said. "What was really pleasing to see was the way we controlled the game from the start and turned up the tempo at the right time. We were strong in all departments, and the bowlers did another good job for us today."
West Indies lead the five-match series 2-0 and the teams will travel to St Kitts for the third ODI on July 11.