Yes, WI Can


When an opposition takes on the West Indies, the first concern is to take Chris Gayle out of the equation. In the semi-final, Australia managed to do it for long periods of the first innings. Of the first six overs, with the fielding restrictions in place, Gayle played just 11 balls. Of the first 14 overs, the Jamaican faced 24. Of the batsmen that carried their bats in T20 internationals Gayle faced the least number of deliveries.

Though this sounds perfect from the Australian perspective, there are a few things that happen when Gayle is around, even if he is not on strike. Firstly, the West Indies are a different unit. Despite the early loss of Johnson Charles, Marlon Samuels (26), Dwayne Bravo (37) and Kieron Pollard (38) all rallied around Gayle. With Samuels, Gayle made 41 with Samuels, 83 with Bravo and 65 with Pollard. Secondly, it only takes a few deliveries for Gayle to unleash himself on the opponents. Of the first 22 balls he made 29 runs. Of the next 19, he made 46. Gayle ended on 75 not out, one more than the margin of West Indies' win. So it is easy to see how the West Indies moved into the driver's seat as the innings went on. The Gayle-Samuels partnership came at 9.11 an over, Gayle-Bravo at 9.76 and Gayle-Pollard at 15.6.

205/4: battle half won

The last of these stands took the West Indies beyond the 200-run mark, with the final over proving very productive. Gayle hit Xavier Doherty's first ball for a six and gave Pollard the strike who then smashed three straight maximums in a row. He was out of the last ball but by then Gayle and Co. had effectively knocked out last year's finalists with just one half of the match over.

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