West Indies started their World T20 campaign in style as Chris Gayle’s blistering hundred ensured victory over England. Chris Gayle blasted the fastest hundred in World Twenty20 history as West Indies cruised to a six-wicket win over England in the sides’ tournament opener. The beastly Gayle passed three figured off his 47th delivery, beating the previous record which he had set in 2007 by 10 balls.
England posted a reasonable 182-6 at the Wankhede Stadium as Joe Root top scored with 48, but they could do little to halt Gayle’s master class – his 11 maximums took him to 98 sixes in T20I cricket, surpassing Brendon McCullum’s previous record of 91. After being put in by Darren Sammy, openers Jason Roy and Alex Hales initially struggled to get going in Mumbai but England took advantage of some loose bowling to reach 49-1 at the end of the powerplay, Roy (15) the only casualty after clipping Andre Russell (2-36) to midwicket. Root combined for 55 with Hales, who succumbed to Sulieman Benn (1-23) for 28, and though the Yorkshireman fell two runs short of his fifty, big-hitting cameos from captain Eoin Morgan (27 not out), Jos Buttler (30) and Ben Stokes (15) were enough for England to surpass the 180 mark.
David Willey’s opening over went for just six runs and accounted for the scoreless Johnson Charles, but Marlon Samuels picked up the mantle with a 27-ball 37 in which he hogged much of the strike from Gayle. Samuels’ departure at the hands of Adil Rashid (1-20) only served to hand the brutish left-hander the opportunity to take control of the innings, Gayle doing so in devastating fashion. Gayle treated some disappointing England bowling that featured 10 wides with the contempt it deserved, the highlight of his masterful innings coming in the 14th over when he hit Moeen Ali for three consecutive sixes.
Two more Gayle maximums saw the 16th over from Willey go for 18 to put the result beyond doubt and move the veteran into the nineties. Though his ton was brought up in more circumspect fashion, squeezing a full Stokes delivery out for a single, Gayle was able to celebrate at length before he and Russell tacked on the necessary runs to secure a result that leaves England’s semi-final hopes already in the balance.