Two days to World Cup: When Martin Guptill stole Chris Gayle's thunder

As the 11th edition of the cricket World Cup commenced in Australia and New Zealand, no batsman had hit a double ton in the sport's showpiece event. That would soon change.

Published: 28th May 2019 01:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th May 2019 01:00 PM   |  A+A-

Chris Gayle celebrates his double hundred against Zimbabwe. (File photo | AFP)

Online Desk

Smashing a double century in ODIs was something unheard of until batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar became the first man to achieve the feat in 2010. After him, the swashbuckling Virender Sehwag followed in his footsteps before Rohit Sharma made it a habit by notching up two scores over 200 in quick succession.

But. as the 11th edition of the cricket World Cup commenced in Australia and New Zealand, no batsman had hit a double ton in the sport's showpiece event. That would soon change when the hard-hitting Jamaican Chris Gayle walked in against Zimbabwe.

Gayle opened the innings with Dwayne Smith and lost his partner off the second delivery. He himself escaped a close lbw appeal which the on-field umpire turned down but replays suggested the ball would have clipped the top of the bails. The 'umpire's call’ reigned supreme.

The heavily built batsman took his time to get into the groove along with Marlon Samuels on the other end.

Once Gayle got settled, he went bonkers smashing sixes and fours to rattle the Zimbabwe bowlers. In his 147-ball innings, he hit an ODI record-equalling and World Cup record-breaking 16 maximums to help West Indies get to a mammoth 372/2 in 50 overs, their highest in tournament history.

Gayle's innings of 215 runs also saw him hit 10 boundaries taking his total runs scored in boundaries to 136, the maximum at that time.

With the double century, the West Indian became the first non-Indian to reach the mark. 

He was out off the last ball of the innings but not before a 372-run stand with Samuels to create a record -- which still stands -- for the highest partnership for any wicket in ODIs.

Zimbabwe were skittled out for 289 runs to hand Windies a grand victory. 

As the saying goes 'records are meant to be broken', and Martin Guptill took the responsibility to overshadow Gayle's achievement. The Kiwi opener chose his opposition well and it was none other than Gayle's Windies in the quarterfinal stage.

ALSO READ | Chris Gayle sinks Zimbabwe with sixes en route record double hundred

Batting first, the Kiwis lost skipper Brendon McCullum early. Guptill kept his composure as he put on 62 runs for the second wicket with Kane Williamson. After Williamson's departure, he was joined by Ross Taylor with whom he had the highest partnership of the innings. The duo put on 143 runs for the second wicket with Taylor scoring a patient 42.

Guptill kept losing partners at the other end but that did not deter him from playing glorious drives and exquisite cut shots as he piled on runs with ease.

The right-handed batsman carved 24 boundaries and clobbered 11 maximums. In total, he scored 162 runs in boundaries as he surpassed Gayle's score of 215.

Guptill finished with an unbeaten 237 off 163 deliveries helping New Zealand get to their best ever total of 393/6.

Chasing the huge target, the Windies were bundled out for 250 runs. Gayle outperformed his teammates as he hit a 33-ball 61 that included eight sixes and two fours but was helpless as Windies bowed out without a challenge.

With the win, New Zealand reached the semifinals and eventually finished as the runners-up to Australia.
 

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