Chris Gayle was once again the man of the moment for West Indies © Getty Images (File Photo)
Chris Gayle (left) was once again the man of the moment for West Indies © Getty Images (File Photo)

By Shiamak Unwalla

Jan 11, 2015

Chris Gayle’s 41-ball 90 and Marlon Samuels’ elegant 60 helped West Indies ease past a mammoth 231-run total by four wickets against South Africa in the second Twenty20 International (T20I) at Johannesburg. Faf du Plessis would have had his heart in his mouth for much of the West Indian innings after having scored a blazing 119 to lead South Africa to 231 for seven, but his monumental innings did not prove to be enough to quell the West Indian juggernaut.

Dwayne Smith got the ball rolling by hitting three boundaries in Kyle Abbott’s first over, but he was out soon thereafter for a nine-ball 17. That united Gayle and Samuels, who proceeded to massacre the Protean bowlers for a 152-run partnership in just around 12 overs. The duo amassed 16 fours and nine sixes between them. However, once the stand was broken, the floodgates broke with them as one after another Gayle, Samuels, Kieron Pollard, and Andre Russell departed in quick succession.

Dwayne Bravo and Darren Sammy then had to make 30 runs off the last three overs to win. Aaron Phangiso came on to bowl the ante-penultimate delivery and gave just one run off the first two balls before Bravo hammered a huge six. The bowler then had his revenge, as Bravo ended up mis-hitting a full toss to Justin Ontong. The equation now read 23 to win off 14 with Denesh Ramdin and Sammy at the crease.

That made it 21 runs needed off the last two overs. Kyle Abbott came on and started off with a wide ball. He followed up with a very good ball that Ramdin french-edged a four. A single followed, after which Sammy slashed one over point for four. He followed it up with another boundary, as the required rate came crashing down. Sammy brought the number of runs needed off the last over to three, and went on to finish the match with a six as West Indies won by four wickets.

Earlier, du Plessis amassed 105 with David Miller for the third wicket, and then put on useful stands with Justin Ontong and Farhaan Beherdien, as the Proteas put the Caribbean bowlers to the sword. Rille Rossouw and Morne van Wyk came out to open the innings, but the latter couldn’t survive the first over, as he hit a short ball from Sulieman Benn to Kieron Pollard at point. Rossouw smashed a couple of sixes but edged one from Jason Holder behind to Denesh Ramdin. At 21 for two in 2.2 overs, Miller came in to join du Plessis.

The duo exploded soon thereafter, with du Plessis playing on both sides of the wicket with abandon. Miller too invoked his Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) form en rote to a 26-ball 47 which included four fours and three sixes. The pair added 105 runs for the third wicket, as South Africa dominated for the entirety of the innings. Miller fell with the score on 126, and was replaced in the middle by Ontong.

Ontong scored 19 of the 30 runs runs he and du Plessis put on together, but was dismissed just as he was starting to look well-set. He top-edged an attempted pull off Dwayne Bravo to Holder, who took the catch easily. That brought in Behardien, but he remained a mute spectator in his stand with du Plessis.

Du Plessis got to his hundred in tremendous fashion, going from 77 off 39 balls to 101 off 46 in one over. He took Sheldon Cottrell for a brace off the first ball of the over, then hit two boundaries — the second of which was off a no-ball — before taking two more twos off the next two balls before hammering a six and a four to bring up only the second T20I ton by a South African after Richard Levi.

He slowed down a little after that, mainly due to exhaustion at having batted since the first over itself, but still managed to dispatch the poor balls. The penultimate ball he faced went for six off a Jason Holder yorker, which also helped him take the record of highest individual score for a South African batsman in T20Is. He was out for 119 off the last ball of the 19th over, caught by Bravo off the bowling of Holder. New man David Wiese hit a six off the first ball he faced, off the first ball of the 20th over, before holing out off his next delivery. South Africa managed to end at a commanding 231 for seven.

Brief scores:

South Africa 231 for 7 in 20 overs (Faf du Plessis 119, David Miller 47; Jason Holder 2 for 40, Dwayne Bravo 2 for 32) lost to West Indies 236 for 6 in 19.2 overs (Chris Gayle 90, Marlon Samuels 60; David Wiese 3 for 43) by 4 wickets.

Man of the Match: Chris Gayle

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