News

15 Mar 2016

West Indies Bank on Chris Gayle to Deliver Against England

West Indies face England in their opening match of the World T20, and would hope the destructive Chris Gayle to be in his elements

Mumbai: Controversial batsman Chris Gayle will be looking to ensure the West Indies' troubled build-up to the World Twenty20 becomes a distant memory when they open their campaign against England in Mumbai on Wednesday.

The Windies are out to prove they are still a force in the shortest form of the game despite their declining Test status, while England want to atone for a humiliating early exit from last year's 50-over World Cup.

A pay dispute cast doubt over the West Indies' appearance in India and while the row was resolved at the 11th hour, relations between players and the country's cricket board remain tense.

Their preparations have also been hit by the withdrawal of all-rounder Kieron Pollard and off-spinner Sunil Narine, who is T20 cricket's top-performing bowler and has thrived in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

But in the enigmatic Gayle they possess a batsman capable of destroying whatever bowling attack he faces and single-handedly winning any match, providing he stays clear of off-field controversy.

The Jamaican, nicknamed "Gayle Storm", faced allegations of sexism after he asked an Australian TV presenter for a date live on air in January during the Big Bash League.

He also lit up the tournament for the right reasons, hitting a 12-ball half-century.

Gayle, 36, holds the record for the highest ever score in T20s, 175 off 66 balls, and hit the format's first international century during the inaugural World T20 in 2007.

"To me he is the best T20 batsman, the most destructive one in this game so he knows his game inside-out," West Indies captain Darren Sammy said of the left-handed batsman last week.

But the second-ranked Windies, who are looking to add to their 2012 World T20 title, face a tough prospect at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium in the shape of a new, attack-minded England side.

Eoin Morgan's team have turned their fortunes around since they were dumped out of the 2015 World Cup by Bangladesh, adopting a more aggressive attitude which has seen them up their run rate.

In Morgan, all-rounder Ben Stokes, opener Jason Roy and classy right-hander Joe Root, England have strength in depth but they will miss injured fast bowler Steven Finn.

England, who won the 2010 World T20, enjoyed a six-wicket win over New Zealand in a warm-up game on Saturday.

UPCOMING MATCHES

27 Sept 2017, 18.30 IST
4th ODI

England v West Indies

, The Oval

28 Sept 2017, 13.30 IST
4th ODI

India v Australia

, Bengaluru

28 Sept - 02 Oct 2017, 11.30 IST
1st Test

Pakistan v Sri Lanka

, Abu Dhabi

28 Sept - 02 Oct 2017, 13.30 IST
1st Test

South Africa v Bangladesh

, Potchefstroom

RECENT MATCHES

1st, Match - Zimbabwe v Hong Kong , Nagpur
Zimbabwe 158/8 (20/20 ov)
Hong Kong 144/6 (20.0/20 ov)
Zimbabwe won by 14 runs

2nd, Match - Afghanistan v Scotland, Nagpur
Afghanistan 170/5 (20/20 ov)
Scotland 156/5 (20.0/20 ov)
Afghanistan won by 14 runs

3rd , Match - Bangladesh v Netherlands , Dharamsala
Bangladesh 153/7 (20/20 ov)
Netherlands 145/7 (20.0/20 ov)
Bangladesh won by 8 runs

4th, Match - Ireland v Oman, Dharamsala
Ireland 154/5 (20/20 ov)
Oman 157/8 (19.4/20 ov)
Oman won by 2 wickets