Chris Gayle scored a 41 ball 91 to help West Indies chase down 232 in the second Twenty20 International against South Africa © Getty Images
Chris Gayle scored a 41 ball 91 to help West Indies chase down 232 in the second Twenty20 International against South Africa © Getty Images

West Indies beat South Africa by four wickets to register a 2-0 victory in the Twenty20 International (T20I) series at Johannesburg. Faf du Plessis scored a superb hundred, but West Indies shattered records galore to chase down the gargantuan total. Shiamak Unwalla brings the highlights of what was a fantastic game of cricket.

Faf du Plessis produces a masterpiece: Cricket is poorer for the fact that du Plessis made such a late entry to the international game. Since his debut in 2010-11 du Plessis has proven himself to be a match-winner across formats. In the first match at Newlands he looked set for a big score before his untimely dismissal for a 20-ball 38. There was no stopping him at New Wanderers: his monumental 119 came off only 56 balls, and included 11 fours and five sixes.

Chris Gayle does what only he can: If there was any batsman in the world who could help chase down 231 in a T20 encounter, it would have to be Gayle. The leading run-scorer in all T20 cricket proved exactly why he held that mantle by blasting the South African bowling in a demonic onslaught en route to a 41-ball 90 — 78 of which came in fours and sixes!

Marlon Samuels plays Robin: If Chris was the Batman of this tale, Samuels proved to be his Robin. Samuels played the perfect sidekick to the main superhero, stroking a high-quality 60 off 39 balls with seven fours and two sixes. The innings would perhaps not be remembered as much as Gayle’s inevitably will be, but it was a crucial knock, as without the partnership Gayle might have struggled to keep going.

Records tumble left and right: When a score of 231 is chased down in 19.2 overs, there are bound to be a few records to tumble along the way. This was the highest ever successful run chase in all T20 cricket, the previous best being Sussex’s triumphant 226 for three against Essex in 2014. Coincidentally, Gayle had scored 117 in a losing cause against South Africa at the same ground in the opening match of the ICC World T20 2007 (in which Herschelle Gibbs had scored 90 — the same Gayle had scored last night).

An ode to Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard: Gayle was awarded the Man of the Match award at the post-match presentation. He spoke about how he prepared by having a drink on the off day in jest before suddenly taking a more sombre stand. He spoke of how he was happy to have won the series, not so much for the sake of the win itself, but as a tribute to Bravo and Pollard, who were controversially axed from the West Indian squad for the ODIs series in South Africa as well as the ICC World Cup 2015.

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and cricket fanatic. You can follow him on Twitter @ShiamakUnwalla)