The T20 World Cup 2022 begins in Australia in 31 days. Sportstar will present one iconic moment/match from T20 WC history each day, leading up to October 16, 2022.
October 5 - Gayle, West Indies thrash Australia to reach final
If there is one cricketer, whose influence and gestures can turn viral and breed clones, it has to be Chris Gayle.
A Friday evening at the R. Premadasa Stadium was another pointer to this trend as a few hours before the West Indies and Australia clashed in the ICC World Twenty20 semifinal, the two teams’ women counterparts played their respective semifinal.
Australia’s Lisa Sthalekar tried to clear the deep mid-wicket fence and out of nowhere emerged a diving Shemaine Campbelle.
The catch was taken and as Campbelle got up, she tried to mimic the ‘Gangnam’ dance, the Korean trend that has become all pervading on YouTube.
Obviously Gayle’s pre-disposition to celebrate every high with that dance of blurring arms and legs, has caught on everywhere and the women from the Caribbean islands, like many others, want to emulate cricket’s most destructive batsman, who has continued the legacy of the great Vivian Richards with his gum-chewing and guntoting ways with the bat.
For the record, the West Indies women’s team lost its last-four contest against Australia but when the men squared-up later under lights, the script was altered thanks to Gayle, the batsman, who will one day perhaps goad the harried bowlers’ union to file a human rights violation case against him!
Putting to rest the news bits about women in his room being perceived as a security breach and the resultant gossip, Gayle hammered an unbeaten 75 (41b, 5x4, 6x6) that helped Darren Sammy’s men stun Australia into submission.
The West Indians posted 205 for four, bundled out Australia for 131 and ran out victors by a margin of 74 runs. Gayle, who was resting in the dugout when his team’s bowlers scythed through the Aussie line-up, rushed out and it was time to uproot stumps and also indulge in the ‘Gangnam’ style dance.
The Gayle story was not just about frenetic runs and dancing shoes, it was also about the introspective air he sported in the initial minutes of his batting tenure. “I didn’t get much of the strike but I didn’t panic,” Gayle said. Panic was something he then thrust down the Aussies’ throats.
The cue card to explode was offered by Marlon Samuels’ cameo and then Gayle got into the act; his eye in; his bat, a massive barn door; and his brain working out all the fielding positions and messing it up.
‘Fine-leg is up? No big deal, I will wrist it sharply past the chap. Five fielders on the ropes? Ha, here we go guys unless you can parachute up and stop my sixes!,’ seemed to be the conversation happening in his mind.
No bowler was spared and though Gayle later spoke about Shane Watson being the pick and Pat Cummins doing his stuff with variations, there was no doubt about who the boss was on the field.
The ‘Gayle effect’ rippled through the three partnerships he strung along the way — 41 with Samuels, 83 with Dwayne Bravo and 65 with Kieron Pollard.
The incremental benefits that Samuels, Bravo and Pollard piled onto Gayle’s effort undid Australian skipper George Bailey’s best laid plans. “We couldn’t exert pressure on Gayle as the others too kept scoring at will,” Bailey said.
Pollard’s three sixes of a clueless Xavier Doherty in the last over, was an apt tribute to Gayle’s thunder and for the rest of the match, the Aussies flailed and gave up the fight.
David Warner, Michael Hussey and Watson fell in succession in that order and that too to the West Indies’ spinners Samuels and Samuel Badree.
Australia was never in the same frame though Bailey’s 63 (29b, 6x4, 4x6) showed that he can exist in the squad purely on the merit of his batting skills. That was poor consolation for a team that notched four victories on the trot before losing the plot with defeats against Pakistan and the West Indies.
Originally published in The Sportstar on October 20, 2012.