Christopher Henry Gayle, the destructive opener from Jamaica has smashed the most number of sixes in international cricket. On February 24, 2015, he decided to showcase his six-hitting abilities in the game's biggest arena during a group stage clash against Zimbabwe .
After winning toss, Windies skipper Jason Holder asked his opening batsmen to take the field hoping for a good start against the Africans. However, Gayle lost his opening partner Dwayne Smith in the very second ball of the innings. He was joined by experienced Marlon Samuels at the crease who provided him with the support as the left-hander went after the Zimbabwean bowlers.
Gayle could have been dismissed on the first ball he faced from Tinashe Panyangara, who had already sent Smith packing. The ball hit muscular Gayle on the pads, but the appeal was turned down by thr umpire forcing the Zimbabweans to review the decision. The Hawkeye suggested the ball would have hit the top of the bails, but Gayle survived on 'umpire's call'.
Gayle resumed cautiously and got his first boundary in the fourth over. He played a lot of dot balls before launching Sean Williams for six over long-on in the 11th over. He kept his composure and started building the partnership with Marlon Samuels, who was dropped by Tendai Chatara off Sikander Raza.
In the next over, Gayle clubbed Elton Chigumbura for a six over extra cover to reach his 47th fifty in the same over.
Samuels and Gayle were building the innings patiently, hitting the bad balls mercilessly while respecting the good ones. 'The Universe Boss' hit Tafadzwa Kamungozi for two sixes in the 28th over just so as to sharpen his blade for the big finish.
West Indies were 220/1 at the end of 40 overs. With 10 overs to go, the batsmen went berserk. Chris Gayle kept breaching milestones on the way as he went after Kamungozi and Williams in the 44th and 45th respectively. Gaylestorm had arrived as West Indies scored 21 runs in both the overs going from 258 to runs in a span of 12 deliveries.
Gayle first took over Gary Kirsten highest score in World Cup in the 45th over and he reached the 200-run mark with a four off Chatara in the 46th over. With it, he became the first non-Indian to reach the milestone and the first ever in a World Cup match.
Gayle went on to hit 16 sixes and 10 fours in his 147-ball 215. He was out on the final ball of the innings but not before having forged a 372-run stand for the second wicket with Samuels, which is the highest for any wickets in ODIs.
Samuels scored 22 runs off the penultimate over and hit a six off the first ball of the last over to finish with an unbeaten 133 off 156 balls.
Chasing 373 runs, Zimbabwe's innings was interrupted by rain. The revised target was 363 in 48 overs, which was an improbable task after a poor start. But Zimbabwe tried to get as close as they could with Sean Williams and Craig Ervine hitting fighting half-centuries.
They were bowled out for 289 runs in 44.3 overs with Jason Holder and Jerome Taylor being the chief destroyers as they claimed three wickets apiece.
Ironically, Gayle was overtaken by Martin Guptill for the highest individual score in World Cup history as the Kiwi hit an unbeaten 237 runs against the Windies in the quarterfinal stage of the World Cup.
But Gayle's 16 sixes still remains the highest number of sixes hit by a batsman in an ODI innings.