Chris Gayle competitive fire continued to burn bright as he started off the ICC World T20 2016 with a blistering 48-ball 100 that inspired a comfortable victory against a shell shocked England side that had piled up 182 for 6 in their 20 overs. Gayle smashed 11 sixes and five fours in a remarkable tour  force that left the result in no doubt with as many as five overs left. Chris Gayle is the World Boss. It’s a self adopted moniker that in this format he has every right to. The T20 world stage has many exciting talents, and the competition could see someone out perform him sufficiently to claim his crown.

Afterwards Gayle explained his success in almost ascetic terms when saying that he had displayed:

“good skills after a lot of practice. My preparation was good; I had a lot of throw downs with Stuart Williams. It was a good pitch to bat on but 182 was a decent score. The dew played its part for much of the innings England were hampered by a wet ball but I kept my composure well.” This applied especially during his partnership of 55 with Marlon Samuels in the first six overs, during which Gayle was consistently denied the strike. “In a way Marlon eased the pressure and allowed me to pace my innings.”

Gayle is a phenomenon. No one hits the ball as cleanly or as regularly in international cricket. And justifiably, no one is as feared. In the build up to the game, players and supporters alike were in readiness for the latest ‘Gayle force’. Sometimes the weather report is misleading, and the storm does not emerge. But it was spot on this time, and England felt its full force.

 

 

The century came off 47 balls, with three overs to go. Gayle dropped to his knees. The helmet came off. And as the crowd roared, England players could finally stare straight into the eyes of their destroyer. Few of them could bear to look.