Gayle Slams 135, But It’s England’s Day
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):
Chris Gayle’s 24th one-day hundred went in vain as West Indies paid dearly for a plethora of missed chances in the field, allowing England to complete their highest-ever run chase in One-Day Internationals and win the opening contest of the five-match series by six wickets here yesterday.
Asked to chase a venue-record 361, world number one England hardly broke a sweat as they reached their target in the penultimate over with eight balls to spare to carve out a piece of history at the storied Kensington Oval – with what was also the third-highest successful run chase in history.
They were propelled by opener Jason Roy, who blasted a chancy 123 off 85 balls while Joe Root added 102 off 97 deliveries as England bettered their previous best run chase of 350 against New Zealand at Nottingham four years ago. Captain Eoin Morgan chipped in with 65 off 51 balls while opener Jonny Bairstow stroked 34.
Roy slammed 15 fours and three sixes in scoring his seventh ODI hundred but lived a charmed life, benefiting from four chances on 75, 82, 107, and 119.
Root, meanwhile, was dropped on 45 and 63 – both times by Ashley Nurse – as he notched his 14th ODI hundred laced with nine fours.
Veteran Gayle had earlier blazed a shot-filled 135 off 129 deliveries as West Indies marched imperiously to 360 for eight – their highest-ever total on Caribbean soil and the highest against England.
Shai Hope stroked a typically delightful 64 off 65 balls while Darren Bravo chipped in with 40 and debutant opener John Campbell, 30, as the Windies tallied their joint third-highest ODI total , tying the mark against Pakistan in Karachi, 32 years ago.
Opting to bat first, West Indies got a decent start as debutant left-hander Campbell dominated the opening stand with Gayle, hitting four fours and a six in a 28-ball knock before swatting seamer Chris Woakes (2-59) to Moeen Ali at deep mid-wicket in the ninth over, with 38 runs on the board.
Gayle then anchored the innings, first in a 131-run, second- wicket stand with Hope, whose eighth ODI half-century included seven fours and a six.
In reply, England were never in trouble, especially after Roy inspired a 91-run, opening stand off just 65 balls with Bairstow, who struck three fours. England were galloping along when Bairstow fell, top-edging a pull at Holder (2-63) to be caught at the wicket by Hope.