Gayle smashes record 215 in World Cup... Windies 372-2

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Chris Gayle smashed the highest ever individual World Cup score of 215 and his first century in 20 months to power the West Indies to 372 for two against Zimbabwe on a record-shattering day at Canberra's Manuka Oval on Tuesday.

Gayle, 35, clubbed a record-equalling 16 sixes including three in a row to cash in after a huge let-off on the first ball he faced and was eventually out off the final ball of the innings, eclipsing his previous highest ODI knock of 153 against Zimbabwe in 2003.

Records tumbled as Gayle, who also went past 9,000 ODI runs, bettered South African Gary Kirtsen's previous highest World Cup score of 188 not out against the UAE in Rawalpindi in 1996.

Only India's Rohit Sharma with 264 and Virender Sehwag (219) have scored more runs in an ODI innings.

Gayle's 372-run partnership with Marlon Samuels (133 not out) was also an all-time ODI record.
It was the big Jamaican's first century in 20 innings since his last ton (109) against Sri Lanka in Kingston in June 2013.

Gayle has swung Panyangara for six number seven. WI 195-1, 38 overs.

Gayle completes his 22nd ODI century off 105 balls and has blasted his sixth six. WI 175-1, 36 overs.

Gayle is on fire blasting two consecutive sixes off Kamungozi even as the rain pelts down. WI 121-1, 26 overs.

Samuels gives himself room and cuts Raza through the covers for a boundary. WI 107-1, 25 overs.

Gayle has smashed a free hit for Chigumbura for a six to long-off. WI 83-1, 18 overs.

Gayle stands and delivers blasting Williams straight over his for the first maximum. WI 51-1, 12 overs.

Gayle is turning it on hammering a couple of boundaries off Chatara. WI 31-1, 6 overs.

Gayle survives after being rapped on the pads first ball with Zimbabwe losing the decision review. WI 3-1, 1 over.

Panyangara has struck a deadly blow with his second delivery knocking back the stumps of Smith. WI 0-1, 0.2 overs.

Dwayne Smith b Panyangara 0 (2b 0x4 0x6)

West Indies have won the toss and elected to bat first.

Teams

West Indies - CH Gayle, DR Smith, MN Samuels, JL Carter, D Ramdin, LMP Simmons, DJG Sammy, AD Russell, JO Holder, JE Taylor, NO Miller

Zimbabwe - Sikandar Raza, RW Chakabva, H Masakadza, BRM Taylor, SC Williams, CR Ervine, S Matsikenyeri, E Chigumbura, T Panyangara, TL Chatara, T Kamungozi

Preview

The West Indies believe they have turned the corner as they prepare to face Zimbabwe in a pivotal Pool B World Cup match at Canberra's Manuka Oval on Tuesday.

The West Indians celebrated their first victory of the tournament with a thumping 150-run win over Pakistan in Christchurch on Saturday following their shock first-up loss to Ireland.

Tuesday's match is set up nicely after Zimbabwe also posted their first points with a four-wicket triumph against the United Arab Emirates at Nelson on Thursday.

West Indies will start favourites to beat the Zimbabweans after winning 34 of their previous 44 one-day international encounters against the Africans, but, as Ireland showed, upsets are possible.

The Caribbean cricketers were criticised heavily after their lethargic loss to Ireland, but all-rounder Andre Russell believes his team now have momentum.

"It's a very good feeling winning a game after losing to Ireland, in that manner," said Russell, man-of-the-match against Pakistan with an unbeaten 42 and three for 33.

"It just goes to show that the West Indies can dominate and we are here to compete.

"On the day we have to turn up. It doesn't matter which team we play against, we're going to have to play our A game.

"It's all good cricket from now on. It's the momentum, and once we keep doing what we can do, I think we're going to go all the way."

However, the form of West Indies opener Chris Gayle continues to be a concern.

He was out for four against Pakistan and his average has dropped to 14.42 over 19 innings in the 20 months since his last century.

"Chris has been struggling, and we're still scoring 300," Russell said of one of the most destructive openers in the shortened format.

"I just think when Gayle and Marlon Samuels peak at the right time, West Indies has the ability to score over 350."

All-rounder Dwayne Bravo will likely miss the West Indies next two pool games after pulling his left hamstring in the Pakistan match.

Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura said his team has targeted victory over the West Indies after breathing new life into their World Cup campaign with victory over UAE.

After losing their opener to South Africa, Zimbabwe allowed the UAE to carve out the Middle East nation's highest ODI score of 285 before claiming victory with 12 balls to spare.

"We need to take this momentum into the game against the West Indies," said Chigumbura.

"Hopefully we can polish up our fielding and have a good game in all departments."

Sean Williams, who was Zimbabwe's hero with an undefeated 76 batting at five against the UAE, said his team had to play their best cricket to upset the West Indies.

"We have to respect the opposition. West Indies on the day, Chris Gayle comes at you and he'll beat people single-handedly. So you know, it's just a matter of doing things the right way," he said.

Zimbabwe have performed creditably at the World Cup and had their moments against South Africa.

They had their border rivals struggling at 83 for four before century-makers David Miller and JP Duminy mounted a 256-run rescue mission to lift the Proteas to 339.

In reply, Zimbabwe reached 191 for two before they lost their last eight wickets for just 86 runs.

Explosive opener

West Indies skipper Jason Holder has faith explosive opener Chris Gayle will break his run of low scores against Zimbabwe at the World Cup in Canberra on Tuesday.

Frustrations have been building outside and inside the West Indies camp over Gayle's inability to tee off to a big score after a run of 20 one-day internationals without a century.

After he was out for four against Pakistan on Saturday, West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Dave Cameron apparently retweeted a demand for the outspoken opener to be given "a retirement package".

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Cameron has since apologised and Gayle was a constant topic during Holder's pre-match media conference at Canberra's Manuka Oval on Monday.

However, the rookie skipper backed his senior teammate to recapture form and fuel the West Indies momentum following their thumping 150-run win over Pakistan.

"Well, every time I see Chris Gayle, I expect to see a positive Chris Gayle," Holder said.

"Although he hasn't been getting runs, we still have a lot of confidence in him. I just hope that he can come tomorrow and just get us in and just take it as deep as possible for us.

"Any team would despise having Chris Gayle going guns blazing at the top. Obviously he hasn't yet, but we still have full confidence in him.

"And it's very good to see that he still hasn't fired and yet we're still getting 300 runs. I guess when his contribution comes, we'll get somewhere close to 400 hopefully."

Fast bowler Holder at 23 has been made skipper of a notoriously fractious West Indies team and replaced Dwayne Bravo, who was captain when the team sensationally abandoned their tour of India last October over a contractural dispute with the WICB.

Former West Indies coach Ottis Gibson said that Holder, who has played just 28 ODIs, was not ready to captain the one-day side and that the captaincy was too much for him at this stage of his career.

"I have a decent relationship with Ottis Gibson. We got along pretty well," Holder said diplomatically.

"I respect him a lot, and I heard about his comments. I can say I'm ready. If I wasn't ready, I probably wouldn't accept the job. I think I can make a difference.

"It's early days for me in captaincy in terms of this West Indies team, but I think over time once I can get my players to come together a lot more and just gel as one unit, I think we can be world beaters again."

But uppermost in Holder's thoughts is beating Zimbabwe on Tuesday and pushing on towards the quarter-finals.

"I'm very confident going forward into this game. I think what is important is that we keep this momentum that we have going," he said.

"I think we still have room for improvement. Obviously we can cut a few of our boundary balls when we bowl.

"I think if we can get a few more contributions going deeper into the innings in terms of the top order, I think we can get close to 350 plus, and I think that is not beyond us because of our firepower in the middle and the end.

"I think we still have to improve, too, in our fielding. I think we could be a lot sharper in the field and give a better account of ourselves."

Guile

Zimbabwe believe the guile of coach Dav Whatmore can help them spring a World Cup upset by beating the West Indies, senior batsman Hamilton Masakadza said Monday.

Zimbabwe head into Tuesday's pivotal Pool B match at Canberra's Manuka Oval level on points with the unpredictable Caribbean cricketers and responding well to the much-travelled Whatmore's words.

Whatmore, who guided Sri Lanka to the 1996 World Cup title and has also been in charge of Bangladesh and Pakistan, was only appointed to the Zimbabwe job six weeks before the World Cup.

However, Masakadza said he had made an immediate mark upon the team.

"The coach has had a very big impact for us. He's changed a couple of things and he's really got the guys going in a certain direction, and that's been working really well for us," Masakadza said.

"I think the atmosphere within the team has been really good now. The guys are really working hard and the guys are very focused.

"The guys are really looking forward to this World Cup, and I think even beyond this World Cup, we're expecting a lot of good things to happen, because we've had a few problems in the past with administration and things like that," he added.

"I think that's also getting better. Guys are a little bit more focused on the actual cricket and giving the cricket side a little bit more of what they need.

"I think looking forward and going ahead, I think things are looking up."

Masakadza, who top-scored with 80 in Zimbabwe's creditable first-up loss to South Africa before his side defeated the United Arab Emirates, said Whatmore had compiled plenty of information for the team ahead of the West Indies game.

"The coach got quite a bit of information yesterday (Sunday) when we got here, so we basically have a really good idea what it's going to be like out there," the batsman said.

"I think it's going to be really important to start off well, both with our batting and our bowling, because I think their top order is very dangerous.

"We mustn't let them get away from us too quickly, and similarly, the batting, Pakistan were four down early (against the West Indies on Saturday), and you can't really recover from a position like that.

"We just have to make sure that we start early, both with bat and with ball."

Masakadka, playing at his first World Cup, said Zimbabwe would have the plans to deal with the West Indies and their potentially destructive opener Chris Gayle.

"They've had a bit of a mixed tournament so far, so we just come along with our plans, planning for them to be on top of their game and being able to deal with them being on top of their game," he said.

"Chris Gayle is a good player. We all know that. He hasn't really got runs so far.

"But we have our plans against him and have our plans against all the different batters, and hopefully we fire up front and get a few wickets early."

Five match facts:

- West Indies have won their last seven one-day internationals against Zimbabwe and all five of their World Cup meetings.

- Chris Gayle is the leading run-scorer in ODIs between these teams, with 1,317 runs in 28 innings. His average of 57.3 is his highest against Test-playing nation.

- Gayle averages just 14.9 in 17 ODI innings in Australia, reaching double figures only twice in his last nine innings.

- West Indies' Andre Russell (80.2%) has the highest boundary run percentage in ODIs between Test-playing nations since January 2014, minimum 100 balls faced.

- Against the United Arab Emirates, Zimbabwe batsman Brendan Taylor took his run aggregate in World Cups from 2003 onwards to 344 runs, more than any other Zimbabwe batsman.

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