Gayle, Samuels sparkle on home turf
KINGSTON, Jamaica – To the bleating of imitation vuvuzelas, blaring horns, crashing thunder sticks, and loud cheers, Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels, two beloved sons of the soil, used the backdrop of home turf to collect landmark hundred in the second Digicel ODI against New Zealand on Saturday.
Gayle led the way with 125 from 107 balls and Samuels made an unbeaten 101 from 103 balls, as the Windies, sent in to bat on a hard, true Sabina Park pitch, posted 315 for five from their allocation of 50 overs on a picture-perfect day.
Left-hander Gayle swept the Black Caps captain Kane Williamson, bowling his uncomplicated part-time off-spin, to deep fine leg for the seventh of his eight fours to reach his milestone from 88 balls.
It was Gayle’s second ODI hundred at home and took him past another famous left-hander, the mercurial Brian Lara, for the highest number of ODI hundreds by a West Indian.
Samuels dabbed Jacob Oram to backward point in the final over for a single that took him to the threshold from 102 balls.
It was his third ODI hundred and first in any format of the game on the international stage in the Caribbean.
The two shared 129 for the third wicket before Gayle was caught at deep mid-wicket off Kyle Milles in the 38th over, essaying a tired pull.
Gayle had also put on 88 with Dwayne Smith for the second wicket that helped to put the home team in early control of affairs.
West Indies suffered an early setback, when opener Lendl Simmons was caught behind for three, edging a loose drive in the fourth over to become the first of three scalps for Tim Southee in 10 overs that cost 55.
Next over, Gayle deposited Mills into the Great Northern Stand for three of his nine sixes off consecutive deliveries over long-off in the fifth over of the day.
He continued his rampage, when Nathan McCullum replaced the fast-medium bowler, lofting the off-spinner’s third delivery over long-on for his fourth six and crashing the next delivery through square cover for four.
Gayle also flicked Southee through square leg for four in the following over and genuflected before driving the fast-medium bowler over the top of cover for another boundary, to the delight of the crowd.
But Gayle and Smith soon found runs at a premium, but kept their nerve through this period before Smith broke the shackles, when he swung Oram for a six over mid-wicket into the lower level of the Kingston Cricket Club pavilion and slammed the next delivery to long-off for a boundary.
Gayle galloped to his 50, reaching the landmark from 42 balls, when he played defensively forward and edged an off-break from McCullum to short third man for a single.
But Smith was caught at long-off for 24 from the bowling of Tarun Nethula mistiming a lofted straight drive at the leg-spinner in the 19th over, leaving West Indies 98 for two.
Samuels came to the crease and kept the Windies in charge, mixing sound defence with typically languid strokes of aggression and ushering Gayle to his hundred.
Samuels reached his 50 from 58 balls with a perfectly-placed, crisp square drive off Mills for the second of his seven fours in the 36th over before Gayle’s departure, as West Indies collected 36 in the Batting Power Play between the 36th and 40th overs.
West Indies entered the final 10 overs on 246 for three, but they didn’t quite get the late charge for which they planned until their captain Darren Sammy came with a rapid-fire 31 from 21 balls that included one four and two sixes.
Kieron Pollard was dubiously lbw to Southee for eight in the 41st over – television replays suggesting the ball would have clearly missed leg-stump, but the batsman did not challenge the decision – and Dwayne Bravo was bowled for three in the 44th over, playing across a toe-crushing yorker from the same bowler.
West Indies are playing an unchanged 11, but the Black Caps brought Tom Latham and McCullum in to replace Dean Brownlie and the injured Andrew Ellis.
West Indies lead the five-match series 1-0, following a nine-wicket victory under the Duckworth-Lewis Method in the rain-affected first ODI two days ago at the same venue.
WEST INDIES (maximum 50 overs)
L. Simmons c wkpr Watling b Southee 3
C. Gayle c Latham b Mills 125
D.R. Smith c McCullum b Nethula 24
M. Samuels not out 101
K. Pollard lbw b Southee 8
D.J. Bravo b Southee 3
*D. Sammy not out 31
Extras (lb5, w15) 20
TOTAL (5 wkts) 315
A. Russell, +D. Ramdin, R. Rampaul, S. Narine did not bat
Fall of wickets: 1-10 (Simmons, 3.5 overs); 2-98 (Smith, 18.1); 3-227 (Gayle, 37.3); 4-253 (Pollard, 40.6); 5-272 (Bravo, 43.6)
Bowling: Mills 10-0-55-1 (w1); Southee 10-1-55-3 (w2); McCullum 6-0-35-0; Oram 10-0-68-0 (w3); Nethula 10-1-66-1 (w3); Nicol 2-0-14-0 (w1); Flynn 1-0-9-0; Williamson 1-0-8-0
NEW ZEALAND: R. Nicol, M. Guptill, D. Flynn, *K. Williamson, T. Latham, +B.J. Watling, J. Oram, N. McCullum, K. Mills, T. Southee, T. Nethula
Toss: New Zealand
Umpires: R. Illingworth (England), G. Brathwaite (West Indies)
TV umpire: R. Kettleborough (England)
Match referee: A. Pycroft (Zimbabwe)
Reserve umpire: P. Nero (West Indies)