A date to remember: Gayle double ton coincides with Sachin's 200
It was a case of this day that year when Chris Gayle smacked the first double hundred of a World Cup today on the same date when Indian icon Sachin Tendulkar had also registered one-day cricket's first 200 in 2010 against South Africa.WorldCup2015 Updated: Feb 25, 2015 10:09 IST
It was a case of this day that year when Chris Gayle smacked the first double hundred of a World Cup today on the same date when Indian icon Sachin Tendulkar had also registered one-day cricket's first 200 in 2010 against South Africa.
Gayle, who smacked 215 off 147 deliveries, became the first non-Indian player to register a double century in ODIs after Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Rohit Sharma (twice) had achieved the feat earlier.
Incidentally Tendulkar's 200 not out in the second ODI of the bilateral series against South Africa also came from 147 deliveries as the innings was laced with 25 fours and 3 sixes.
Gayle's knock was adorned with a record-equalling 16 sixes and 10 fours. Gayle fell short of the highest number of sixes by only one, tying with Rohit and South African captain AB de Villiers.
Gayle, however, became the highest individual scorer in a World Cup match, surpassing South African Gary Kirsten's 188 made in Rawalpindi in 1996 edition.
The destructive batsman was also involved in a record 372-run second-wicket partnership with centurion Marlon Samuels (133) to help the West Indies post 372 for 2 in 50 overs against Zimbabwe.
The legendary Indian duo of Tendulkar, who played in record six World Cups, and Rahul Dravid held the partnership record which they made against New Zealand in 1999 World Cup.
Gayle thus became the only player in world cricket to hit a triple hundred in Tests, double hundred in ODIs and a hundred in Twenty20 Internationals.
Pressure to perform
Gayle admitted that he had never felt such pressure to perform.
"I got a bit of cramp and I was feeling a bit tired," said Gayle, fortunate to be given not out after an lbw appeal to the first ball he faced went to a review.
"I didn't want to be out with the first ball -- I said 'you can't be serious?'," he said.
"I was under pressure to score runs, and I kept getting messages from Twitter and on my cell phone from fans. I have never known so many people wanting Chris Gayle to do so well."
Gayle's record-shattering innings came just days after he was inadvertently caught up in an embarrassing Twitter gaffe by West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Dave Cameron, who retweeted a post from a spectator calling for the batsman to be pensioned off.
"I have never felt this kind of pressure, but in the end, I am sure I gave them something to talk about," said Gayle.
"A lot of time people don't know what you are going through as I had some issues with injuries. I am also not getting any younger so age is definitely catching up on me."
Gayle and Samuels also set a new partnership record for any ODI wicket.
Their unbroken stand of 372 surpassed the 331 shared by India's Rahul Dravid and Tendulkar against New Zealand at Hyderabad (Deccan) in 1999.
"Ever since Rohit got two, I have been hounded to get one as well," smiled Gayle, who even took two wickets with his gentle off-spin when Zimbabwe batted.
- Destructive -
After collecting the man-of-the-match award, Gayle said it was key that his side now focussed on Friday's crucial clash against South Africa in Sydney.
"It was a fantastic day from a personal point of view, but now we have another tough game coming up against South Africa who have just beaten us 4-1 so we'll be concentrating on that," he added.
West Indies captain Jason Holder praised Gayle.
"Chris is an outstanding player, it's great to have him back in form and hopefully he can carry it through to the finals," said Holder. Zimbabwe skipper Elton Chigumbura said his side had been unfortunate with the lbw review when Gayle was on nought.
"We were unlucky with the Gayle lbw but he played a massive innings today," said Chigumbura. "Gayle is the kind of player who is destructive but we just have to forget about what happened."
Gayle's innings sparked a stream of plaudits on Twitter.
"Finally he's got a double hundred in one day cricket ! That doesn't surprise me who else than @henrygayle what a stage to get it tho," tweeted India's Yuvraj Singh.
His boss at Indian Premier League outfit Royal Challengers, Vijay Mallya said the innings was a perfect response to those who wanted him dropped.
"@henrygayle silences his critics and gives a fitting answer to all the recent comments on Twitter. Our big maan creates even more records," wrote Mallya, who also owns the Force India F1 team.
The record also did not go unnoticed in Japan, hardly a hotbed of international cricket.
"Japan Cricket must reluctantly admit that @henrygayle is making it quite difficult for us to get any work done this afternoon #WIvZIM," tweeted the Japanese Cricket Association.
PTI and AFP inputs