Australia chose to bat first after failing in two consecutive T20Is chasing but it hardly bore fruit. Chris Gayle showed up at his destructive self and hit his first T20 International half-century in six years to pace the West Indies to a series-clinching six-wicket victory in the third fixture of their five-match series at the Daren Sammy Stadium in St Lucia on Monday.
Chasing a modest target of 142 after the tourists struggled yet again with the bat, Gayle recaptured his most destructive form in smashing seven sixes and four fours in racing to 67 off only 38 balls to take his team to the target and a 3-0 lead in the series. He also sent an ominous warning to all opponents that the 41-year-old could yet be a factor in the Caribbean side's defence of the World T20 title in three months' time.
"You all knew I was struggling with the bat and to be able to get some runs today was very pleasing. But what was pleasing about getting these runs tonight was my teammates. I want to dedicate this half-century and milestone to my teammates, especially Kieron Pollard, and he stands tall for the person I am and what I've achieved. He let me know where I stand within this team and he wanted me to go and express myself. So I'm very grateful for that pep talk because sometimes it doesn't matter how great you are, you need a bit of a talk sometimes," Gayle said in the post-match presentation.
The Jamaican's pyrotechnics followed another efficient West Indies performance in the field, as wrist-spinner Hayden Walsh again presented the most effective challenge to the Australians, with figures of two for 18 in limiting the visitors to 141 for six. All-rounder Moises Henriques top-scored with 33 and struck the only two sixes of his team’s innings, the first coming off the final delivery of the 16th over.
(With inputs from AFP)