Chris Gayle smashed 77 off 27 balls as West Indies leveled the five-match series 2-2 against England. (Image credit: Twitter)
Before the start of the series against England, Chris Gayle was considered a spent force in the West Indies ODI set-up. However, four matches later, 424 runs and an average of 106 with 39 sixes in the series, the Gayle-force is back for the West Indies and his contributions at the top helped Jason Holder’s side level the five-match series 2-2 against an England cricket team side who are ranked No.1 in ODIs and one of the favourites to win the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. For his contributions with the bat, Gayle was named as the Man of the Series at the age of 39. In the post-match presentation, Gayle joked that the youngsters still had a lot of catching up to do.
“Man of the Series at age 39, come on youngsters what's happening. It's a fantastic series. To be able to tie the series 2-2, both teams played well,” Gayle remarked. The series was capped off in grand style by Gayle, who blasted the fastest fifty by a West Indies batsman in ODIs off just 19 balls after Oshane Thomas took his maiden five-wicket haul to bundle England out for a woeful 113. West Indies won the match by seven wickets and in just 12.1 overs. Gayle ended on 77 from just 27 balls and his knock included five fours and nine sixes.
Gayle said the performances in this ODI series will make teams respect the West Indies more in the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 which will begin on May 30 in England. “At one stage I thought is this going to be my last innings for Windies in the Caribbean. Another good turnout today. We will get a bit of respect going into the World Cup. If we get it right as a unit, we can create some damage in the World Cup. We're very capable of winning games in England,” Gayle said.
The series against England was touted to be Gayle’s swansong in ODIs in the West Indies. However, after his blazing knock of 162 in the fourth ODI which West Indies lost, Gayle considered ‘unretiring’ from the format if this was possible. “Hopefully, the body can change in the next couple of months and we can see what happens. What's the matter with the body? I'm nearly 40. But could I un-retire? We'll see. We'll take it slowly,” Gayle said at that time.
This has been a magnificent series for Gayle, who became only the second West Indies player after Brian Lara to go past 10,000 ODI runs. His tally of 39 sixes is the most in this series while his 19-ball fifty summed up his dominance as West Indies look to peak at the right time before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.