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'Gayle is right up there with Sir Viv in the way he tears attacks'

By Harish Kotian
Last updated on: March 17, 2016 17:38 IST
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'To destroy an attack like that, the only person in my time that I would put him with is Sir Vivian, because Sir Vivian used to go out there and destroy attacks like that.'
Harish Kotian/Rediff.com reports from the Wankhede.

Chris Gayle

IMAGE: Chris Gayle celebrates after hitting the fastest World T20 century in the ICC World T20 game against England in Mumbai, March 16, 2016. Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Chris Gayle pummeled England into submission with a blazing innings of 100 not out off 48 balls, which helped the West Indies make a smashing start to the ICC World T20.

Chasing a healthy 183 for victory, Gayle's blast powered the West Indies to a comprehensive six wicket victory, with 11 balls to spare, at the Wankhede stadium.

The left-hander entertained the Mumbai crowd smashing five fours and a record 11 sixes off 48 balls in a hurricane knock which brought back memories of his vintage performances in the Indian Premier League where he is a bona fide superstar.

Windies Coach Phil Simmons was quick to compare him with Vivian Richards for his capability to destroy bowling attacks.

"To destroy an attack like that, the only person in my time that I would put him with is Sir Vivian, because Sir Vivian used to go out there and destroy attacks like that," Simmons said in Mumbai after the match.

"I think he is up there with Sir Viv in the way he tears apart attacks."

Chris Gayle

IMAGE: Gayle during his amazing knock. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Simmons said he told Gayle he needs only one thing from him.

"Bat 15 overs for me. That is all I need from you. I know that once you bat 15 overs, we would be somewhere near the target we want to be setting or chasing."

This was Gayle's second century in the World T20, his first coming in the inaugural tournament in 2007 against South Africa in Johannesburg.

Simmons hopes the Jamaican's rampaging form continues throughout the World T20.

"There is more to come," Simmons, who played 26 Tests and 143 ODIs for the West Indies, said. "It was great to see the way he played from the start."

Gayle has an amazing strike rate of 145 in T20 Internationals, for a tally of 1,506 runs in 44 games.

This was the 36 year old's first international game after nearly a year, his last match for the West Indies being the 143 run defeat to New Zealand in the quarter-final of the 50 overs World Cup in March last year.

Gayle, Simmons said, does not complicate batting. Once he decides to go on the attack it is very hard to stop him.

"I think it is as simple as you see it. I have been sitting and talking to him to see how he works it out. It is as simple as he makes it look out there. He actually analyses as simple as he does it. He practices hard, he hits a lot of balls in the nets, but he works it out just as he did today. 'Rashid is my bowler for the day, I will take him down,' it is as simple as that," Simmons said.

Gayle is the first player to hit two centuries in World T20s. He also broke his own record for most sixes, the previous best being the 10 he hit against South Africa in 2007.

If Gayle continues his devastating form in coming games, it will be hard for any team to stop the West Indies from running away with their second WT20 title.

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Harish Kotian / Rediff.com
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