GEORGETOWN, Guyana – West Indies batsman Chris Gayle warmed up for the imminent ICC World T20I Tournament with a blistering century at the Guyana National Stadium on Saturday.
Playing for the Legacy All Stars Gayle blew away the 007 Warriors bowlers with an unbeaten 101 off 48 balls to give his side a seven-wicket win in the T20 Unity Cricket game.
Gayle, fresh from Australia’s Big Bash League, =was in his most imperious form. The big left-hander thrashed 11 sixes and four fours in a brutal assault on the bowlers.
His innings included an extraordinary sequence during which he hit five consecutive sixes off West Indies leg-spinner Samuel Badree to reach his century off just 47 balls, before retiring, as 007 Warriors 176-8 was chased down in spectacular style with 3.1 overs to spare.
Gayle was at his violent best and had explosive support from opening partner Andre Fletcher as the pair put on 50 in 32 balls for the first wicket.
Both batsmen were off the mark with boundaries, with the strong Jamaican, who has earned a reputation as one of the most destructive players in the format, hammering Badree for his first maximum and then clobbering Dwayne Smith for his second six.
After smashing Smith for the innings third six, there was a glimmer of light when the leg-spinner Badree got the wicket of Fletcher (18).
However, Fletcher’s dismissal did not stall Gayle as he continued to bully the bowling attack to all parts of the Stadium with a sublime powerful hitting display.
There was not a bowler who was not savaged by Gayle’s swinging willow. He smashed Darren Sammy for consecutive sixes to register his 50 off 34 balls.
Sammy, who stood-in as captain for the injured Christopher Barnwell, tried rotating his bowlers, but with Gayle in the mood he was, no bowler was going to steal his thunder.
Gudekash Motie, the young left-arm spinner was asked to tie Gayle down, but it was an ultimately futile attempt at damage limitation as he too could not have survived the carnage.
Gayle hit two more sixes before skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan got into the act, pulling Jason Holder to the mid-wicket boundary.
Gayle then took 31 runs off Badree in the 14th over when he retired at 150-1. Sarwan was dismissed for 24, but Dwayne Bravo (22) and Nicholas Pooran (7) saw the Legacy All Stars safely home.
The start of the match was delayed by 40 minutes due to the late arrival of the teams, and when play finally got underway Lendl Simmonds hit five fours and two sixes on his way to 50 off 38 balls while left-handed batsman Robin Bacchus scored a 22-ball 32.
The 007 Warriors lost Shemroy Barrington (0) and Barbadian Dwayne Smith (7) to Bravo and Romario Shepherd, leaving the Warriors hope hanging in uncertainty in the third over at the score of 14-2.
Simmons combined with Bacchus in an up-tempo 88 runs for the third wicket. Bacchus hit consecutive boundaries off Shepherd and Sulieman Benn to set the tone of the innings, before Simmons took the attack to Narsingh Deonarine’s first over, hitting the off-spinner for two sixes and a four.
But when the pair was dismissed by Gajanand Singh and Shepherd respectively, the Warriors slipped further with Singh accounting for Sammy (12), Holder (13) and Assad Fudadin without scoring.
Anthony Bramble made 19 while Veerasammy Permaul Permaul contributed a 12-ball unbeaten 24.
Singh finished with figures of 4-25, while Shepherd and Bravo supported with 2-36 and 2-23 respectively.
The game was organised by Eworth Williams of Legacy Promotions and James Bond, head of the 007 Promotions, with the aim to unite Guyanese through Sports and to contribute to Guyana’s 50th Independence Anniversary.