Proteas blown away by Gayle storm

2015-01-09 22:37

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Chris Gayle spearheaded the West Indies’ charge to victory over the Proteas in the first T20 International at Newlands.

The Windies cantered to a four-wicket victory tonight after chasing down South Africa’s sub-par total of 165/4 with four balls remaining.

The visitors’ chase was set up Gayle, who after missing the Test series against the same opponents through injury, showed why he is arguably the best T20 batsman in world cricket.

Gayle struck the second fastest fifty in T20 International cricket, as he scored 77 in just 31 balls (eight sixes, five fours), with the Proteas bowlers having no answer to the left-handed Jamaican.

The rest of the batting line-up was a mere supporting cast as Gayle went about his business. In the six-over powerplay, the Windies were already well over the required rate, reaching 78 without loss.

Fellow opening batsman Dwayne Smith scored 20 in as many balls, before he was trapped in front by Imran Tahir, while going for a reverse sweep in the seventh over of the innings.

Nineteen-year-old fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, playing in only his third international match, found the going tough as he conceded 38 in his four overs.

Gayle was eventually second man out in the 11th over, caught by wicket-keeper Morne Van Wyk, also attempting a reverse sweep off Tahir - but by then the big man had done his job.

Dwayne Bravo was out for eight in the 16th over, caught at midwicket off the bowling of Wayne Parnell.  Marlon Samuels also fell to Tahir, caught in the covers for 41 as the visitors stuttered with only eleven runs required for victory.

Wanting to finish the game quickly, Andre Russell (6) and Denesh Ramdin (2) also fell to the bowling of Parnell and Wise respectively.

Eventually Kieron Pollard finished the game with a boundary off the third ball of the final over as the Windies took the advantage in the three-match series.

South Africa’s most successful bowler was Imran Tahir taking 3/28 in his four overs, while Wayne Parnel bowled his four overs for 39 and also claimed two wickets. David Wiese finished with figures of 1/20.

The Proteas total of 165/4 was built around an unbeaten 51 off 40 balls from No 4 batsman Rilee Rossouw. The Knights left-hander came to the crease in the fifth over, after Van Wyk was caught by Gayle of the bowling of Jason Holder.

Rossouw was part of three partnerships: 48 with David Miller, 46 with Faf du Plessis and an unbeaten 38 with Farhaan Behardien. Nevertheless, there nothing truly significant that could really hurt the Windies bowlers.

Du Plessis had looked threatening during his 20-ball 38 (5x4, 2x6) but South Africa required a bigger contribution from their captain. However, with Gayle in such a belligerent mood on the night, even that would have perhaps been too little.

The second T20 of the series is on Sunday at the Wanderers.

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