T20 World Cup Rewind: Herschelle Gibbs, Chris Gayle offer a glimpse into the future | Crickit
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T20 World Cup Rewind: Herschelle Gibbs, Chris Gayle offer a glimpse into the future

May 18, 2024 03:41 PM IST

Chris Gayle and Herschelle Gibbs were remarkable in the first ever T20 World Cup match back in 2007.

The first-ever T20 World Cup got off to a loud pomp and applause, and on a starry night, two of the cleanest strikers of the ball – Chris Gayle and Herschelle Gibbs – offered the world a glimpse of what was to come. Two years after Australia and New Zealand featured in the first-ever official T20 international, Gayle and Gibbs lit up the Bullring to give the inaugural T20 World Cup a rollicking start.

Chris Gayle (L) and Herschelle Gibbs lit up the Bullring on September 11, 2007(Getty Images)
Chris Gayle (L) and Herschelle Gibbs lit up the Bullring on September 11, 2007(Getty Images)

It was only fitting that on September 11, 2007, Gayle became the first batter to score a T20I century. However, it wasn't enough for West Indies, who would go on to become two-time champions. Four years after South Africa crashed out with a heartbreaking defeat – against the West Indies – in the 2003 World Cup at home, the Proteas doused Gayle's fire, led by Herschelle Gibbs, whose unbeaten 90 outshone the big Jamaican's brutal century to get them over the line.

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Gayle was pretty much a one-man show for the Windies, his 117 off 57 balls plundering South Africa en route to scoring 205/6. In the process, Gayle went past the previous highest score in T20Is held by Ricky Ponting when he hit 98 against the BlackCaps. Gayle also bludgeoned 10 sixes against an attack comprising Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander.

As would become the pattern with Gayle, the West Indies opener saw off the initial period before tucking into the South Africa bowlers. One of the flat-cut shots hit by Gayle was so hard that despite bursting through the hand of the fielder at point, it cleared the ropes for a six. His fifty came off just 26 balls, and another 25 deliveries later, Gayle raised the first of his 22 T20 centuries.

But Gayle's stunning assault was short-lived as shortly after, it was Gibbs' turn to cut loose. Just a few months removed from becoming the first man to hit 6 sixes in an over in international cricket, Gibbs' onslaught saw South Africa home with 14 balls to spare. That West Indies were highly lacklustre aided Gibbs. They gave away 28 extras, including 23 wides. Couple that with dropped catches as the Windies, in a way, technically gift-wrapped the game to South Africa.

But while Gibbs was the star of the show, it was Graeme Smith who really took the skin off the opposition with a flurry of early boundaries. And even though Gibbs lost the South Africa captain and AB de Villiers cheaply, Justin Kemp blasted 46 not out off 22 balls as he and Gibbs got the job done without breaking much sweat.

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