Universe boss Chris Gayle described his last innings at Kensington Oval on Wednesday as one of his best.
The 39-year-old Gayle, who announced this week that he will retire from ODI cricket after this summer’s ICC World Cup in England, scored 135 runs that were the foundation for the Windies 360 for 8 from their 50 overs in the first of their ODI series against England.
Gayle, who started slowly, faced 129 balls during which he hit three fours and 12 massive sixes before he was bowled off an inside edge from a Chris Strokes delivery with the Windies at 316 for 7. His walk to the pavilion was met with sustained applause from the crowd in acknowledgement of another great innings from the power hitter on his last lap in ODI cricket.
His 12 sixes provided more than half of the record 23 sixes that has ever been hit in an ODI innings.
“It’s one of my best innings, you check my career and I haven’t started like that,” he said afterwards. “But it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. Hopefully, this put us in a good position.”
Gayle said he relied on the things he has learned in his two-decade-long career to get him to his 24 ODI ton.
“(I) used a bit of experience, knew which bowlers to target, the new-ball bowlers bowled well,” he said while praising his teammates for helping him along the way.
“Campbell, Shai Hope took the pressure off me, which was fantastic,” he said. “It’s a good wicket, the new ball is going to be key for us.”
Despite the huge score, Gayle, while confident that 360 was a winning score, issued a warning that the match was only half-way won.
“Any particular day a team will take 360, but we can’t relax or take it for granted,” he said.
“We’re playing the number-one team so we have to get the ball in the right areas and take our chances in the field.” (Sports Max)