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Gayle credits drinking buddy

Friday, March 18, 2016
Members of the West Indies team celebrate during the ICC World T20 match against England at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday. WICB Media Photo

MUMBAI—Chris Gayle says it was a remark from close teammate Sulieman Benn prior to the start of the West Indies innings, that inspired his scintillating 100 against England on Wednesday. “I was focussed and I was a little bit pumped as well. Just before I went out to bat, Sulieman Benn said to me ‘Chris you’ve got to entertain me’,” Gayle said.

“Sometimes when someone says such things like that, it kind of actually gives you a bit of buzz as well so Sulieman gave me that spark. I said ‘I’m going to entertain my teammate’. He’s my drinking partner as well so we’re going to have few beers…it’s good to get off on a winning note.”

The left-handed Gayle was superb, smashing five fours and 11 massive sixes as he stormed to exactly 100 not out, in the Windies opening game of the Twenty20 World Cup. He needed just 47 balls to reach his landmark, to record the third fastest 100 in T20 Internationals.

He put on 55 for the second wicket with Marlon Samuels who hit a cameo 37, added a further 46 for the third wicket with Denesh Ramdin (12) before combining in a match-winning unbroken fifth wicket stand of 70 off 35 balls with Andre Russell who finished with a run-a-ball 16 not out.

Gayle praised the team’s preparations, noting that he had put in a lot of work in the build-up to the contest against England.

“The preparation has been really, really good. There [were] a lot of throw downs with (coach) Stuart Williams and it has helped a lot,” the 36-year-old said.

“It’s all about practicing your skills and then you can exploit them out there in the middle. It worked for me today, it’s a good wicket to bat on and we were chasing a decent total on that sort of wicket but the dew played a part as well so it was good to get set and take it from there.”

Ironically, Gayle was reduced to the role of spectator early in the innings, with Samuels commanding most of the strike as he dominated England’s bowling. On 15 from 12 balls when Samuels fell, Gayle then opened up, racing to his half-century off another 15 balls and then using another 20 deliveries to get to three figures.

Gayle said Samuels’s cameo had paved the way for him to play freely. 

“After facing my first over, it actually took a while to get back on strike but I didn’t lose my composure,” Gayle recalled.

“He (Samuels) was getting the boundaries as well so that was actually pretty good because then that kind of eased the pressure a bit and actually gave me a chance to pace my innings and then work out which bowler I was going to take down … and keep ahead of the run rate or keep within the run rate.

“It was a fantastic innings and I am really happy to finish the game and not leave it for anyone.”



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