Chris Gayle's double century showed two sides of the batsman
The dark clouds descended. Canberra was bracing for a thunderstorm. Uncertainty hovered around with the game expected to be disrupted by rain. In the gloomy weather, West Indies were wrecked early when Dwayne Smith was sent packing. 0/1 and the onus to rebuild was upon Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels.
While the rain was lingering around, the madness to be unveiled was in a striking distance. Manuka Oval was completely caught off guard – not by the rain, but by the Gayle force making its arrival finally and slaughtering the Zimbabweans with crude power and monstrous shots.
Breaking the run with an uncharacterstic 100
To anyone who knew Chris Gayle and gauged his reputation, it was an innings that was due since quite a long time. It was only a matter of time that played a waiting game to see it being unleashed. His recent run of form fiercely signaled that a record breaking knock was inevitable. The lackluster scores of 4 and 36 in the World Cup, built up the situation even more. The pressure was mounting on Gayle.
Against a spirited Zimbabwe, it took some time for Gayle to get going. He saw Dwayne Smith being rattled from the other end and had his nervy and the edgy moments. He first ticked off with a controversial lbw decision that was going in favor of the batsman receiving a benefit of doubt from the umpire. Of what could have been an entirely different day, Gayle had his opportunity seized.
He initially showed glimpse of his belligerence with some timely boundaries but none were really like the Gayle we know. He paced his innings uncharacteristically nudging singles and rotating the strike. The odd loose ball was just smashed away to the boundary. He reached the three figures in 105 balls. A typical one day innings, but so untypical of Chris Gayle. The century ceased the drought of not having scored a 100 since 2013. And that was the moment he arrested the drought and the flood gates were cut loose.
The Gaylestorm was unleashed
The gloomy Canberra suddenly surged to a transformation witnessing an entertainment of cricketing madness led by the ring master. He had twirled his storm to tame the wildest of the bowling attacks in the past and Zimbabwe was just another casualty added to the list. He pounced on the toothless attack bludgeoning his way through the next hundred off just 35 balls.
The Munaka Oval came to life to witness a slice of World Cup history. The brutal knock muted his critics shattering record after record. In no time, Gayle hit his peak plundering boundaries in a typical Gayle style and also in a typically brutal fashion – the way only Gayle knows.
The kind of display Gayle had crafted en route to his 100 – it only made everyone understand how desperate he was to bag a century. He subdued his intent to provide an onslaught in the course of getting a 100. He could have blazed away immediately when he reached half century. But Gayle had set his sights on something else to make a statement about his own form.
The manner he reached his hundred and then followed by double hundred no one is going to ask about his form ever again. He showed everyone how his blistering and frightening innings at a devastating speed could bring a speedy end to the opposition.
The innings versus Zimbabwe was a great message conveyor. “You never want Chris Gayle to be out of form if your team is up against him. You sense devastation is going to happen that would demoralize your team’s bowling attack”. It’s a special magic Gayle brings with his repute and it is improbable to curb it with the intent he possesses. The intent to derail the opponents at his will – something only Gayle could master it.