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Gayle knock gifts WI Champions first WCL win

by Barbados Today
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Jamaican cricket superstar Chris Gayle truly turned back the hands of time, as he hit a trademark quickfire 50 to power the West Indies Champions to a six-wicket win over the South Africa Champions in the World Championship of Legends (WCL) 2024 on Sunday. The 44-year-old scored 70 off just 40 with a plethora of fours and sixes, to help the West Indies Champions chase down a 175-run target with five balls to spare.

After winning the toss, Gayle, the captain of the West Indies Champions, decided to bowl first at Edgbaston in Birmingham. The team got the best possible start in the first over when Dwayne Smith ran out Neil McKenzie for a diamond duck.

Richard Levi struck a few lusty blows before he also got run out courtesy of Kirk Edwards, which led to the South Africa Champions’ run rate stalling a bit. After Jacques Kallis and Jean-Paul Duminy were dismissed with a strike rate of less than a hundred, Ashwell Prince and Dane Vilas provided the much-needed impetus to the innings, scoring unbeaten 40’s each, to help the team post a decent total of 174/5 on the board in their allotted overs.

In pursuit of the 175-run target, Dwayne Smith of the West Indies Champions had to fight through a slow start, but at the other end, his captain Chris Gayle took the attack to the South Africa Champions bowlers. After stitching a 65-run opening stand alongside Dwayne Smith, the Caribbean legend was involved in a partnership of 59 runs with Chadwick Walton, to put the team in a commanding position.

Gayle hit four fours and six sixes on his way to scoring 70 off 40 before Charl Langeveldt trapped him in front of the stumps. His walloped a one-handed six out of the ground, to help West Indies to their first win of the international veterans competition.

Chadwick Walton stayed unbeaten till the end with his 56 off 29 with three fours and five sixes, to take the West Champions over the line alongside Kirk Edwards.

Despite the win, West Indies remain fifth on the points table, while South Africa, who have lost three out of three, are propping up the table.

Pakistan, meanwhile, are at the top, winning four matches on the bounce. India are third, having won two out of three matches.

The 10-day tournament in England sees iconic players from around the world representing their former national teams. West Indies will play England on Tuesday.

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