Gayle force at last

Chris Gayle the mighty Australia for six on Saturday in a glorious display of power batting.

The West Indies skipper was in untouchable form as he battered the World Twenty20 favourites to lead his team to a seven-wicket victory at The Oval.

Gayle bludgeoned 88 runs from just 50 balls as he tore the Aussie bowlers apart. None more so than Brett Lee, who Gayle smashed for 27 runs in one over.

Lee was a bewildered onlooker as Gayle powered the ball out of the ground for two huge sixes – one of which measured a mammoth 105 metres!

Gayle was as modest ever, though, when he declared: ‘It’s the first time I have hit it so far. But if the ball is in the slot in Twenty20, these things happen and you will have guys who hit it further than me as well – maybe Shahid Afridi or Virender Sehwag.

‘Once I can clear the boundary I am satisfied with that, it doesn’t matter how far it goes.’

The Windies were set 170 to win after the Aussies were restricted to 169-7 from their 20 overs.

Jerome Taylor took two wickets from the first over of the day to leave Ricky Ponting’s men wobbling on 3-2.

Ponting himself was out for a golden duck before David Warner’s cool 63 from 53 balls helped Oz recover.

But Gayle, who hit six sixes in total, was in no mood to let the Aussies dominate and shared a 133-run opening stand with Andre Fletcher (53).

Lee eventually had Gayle caught in the deep by Shane Watson – but it was little consolation for the Oz paceman, who was quick to congratulate the departing batsman on his amazing knock.

Ramnaresh Sarwan hit the winning runs as the Windies eased to 172-3 with 25 balls to spare.

Ponting admitted his side gave the Windies too many opportunities.

‘I thought 169 was going to be a competitive total if we could take wickets up front with the new ball. But they took us on, hit some early boundaries and got the momentum going their way. They outplayed us, for sure.’

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