Port-of-Spain, Trinidad – Chris Gayle gave a six-hitting exhibition on Friday as he led Jamaica to victory over CCC and a spot in Saturday night’s Caribbean T20 Play-off match. The game’s most powerful batsman blasted the ball to all parts of the field and into the stands as he made 85 off just 44 balls – his highest score for Jamaica in this format.
Gayle’s nine sixes – the most in a single innings in the four-year history of the Caribbean T20 tournament – gave the colorful crowd at Beausejour Cricket Ground a lot of entertainment. In the end Jamaica won comfortably by 7 wickets as they reached the target at 151-3 at a rate of 9.06 runs per over. Gayle has now hit a world record 324 sixes in 126 Twenty20 matches.
“[It] felt good to be back here in the Caribbean playing cricket. It was a tough challenge for me out there to get 85 runs. The first over was, I don’t really know how to describe it, but I was just happy I got through it and was able to take it from there,” Gayle said.
“I got an eye-opener to start with and I really loved that…it was a sharp one from Jason (Holder) and it opened my eyes and put me back in the right frame of mind. It’s a good wicket to bat on and chasing 150 on this kind of surface, once you get a good start, you should win, and we did.”
Asked where his power comes from, Gayle explained: “You need good balance. I was in the gym so I feel strong as well and that helped as well. You have to set the foundation when you’re batting…the balance is key. The bat that you use is key as well, you need a good bat in your hand and once you have that right, the ball can travel a long way.”
The Jamaicans ended the preliminaries on 17 points with four wins behind Trinidad & Tobago, who topped the table with 21 points to earn automatic qualification to their third consecutive final.
Gayle, the towering left-hander, says he is looking forward to Saturday’s Play-off against Guyana. First ball is 8 pm (7 pm Jamaica Time). The winner of this match will face two-time defending champions Trinidad and Tobago in the Grand Final on Sunday at 8 pm (7 pm Jamaica Time).
“I’m ready for whoever they bring, to be honest with you…As a team we are ready. I feel like I’m playing really well and I just want to stay focused on doing the job here for Jamaica.
“I was relaxing a bit on the beach and I did not have any gear so it was a bit hectic, but I wanted to come and play for Jamaica. I’m a professional cricketer so once you prepare yourself for these kind of things – the unexpected – you will do well. I know everyone in the team and I have come back and fitted in well so it’s just a matter for us to go out and get things done,” Gayle added.