GROS ISLET, St Lucia, CMC – Batting superstar Chris Gayle announced his arrival at the Caribbean Twenty20 the only way he knows how, belting an high octane half-century to fire Jamaica to a seven-wicket win over Combined Campuses and Colleges and confirm their place in today’s playoff final.
The left-hander, not a part of the original squad because of his commitments in the Australian Big Bash, was a last minute call up to replace the injured Andre McCarthy and wasted little time in stamping his authority on the tournament.
Gayle smashed 85 from a mere 44 balls, laced with four fours and nine stunning sixes, as Jamaica easily chased down the 151 needed for victory with 20 balls left at the Beausejour Cricket Stadium here last evening.
The victory moved Jamaica to 17 points, leaving Guyana and Windward Islands to battle in the night’s final game for a place alongside them in the playoffs.
Opting to bat first, the CCC were propelled by captain Kyle Corbin’s exciting 47 off 32 balls while Raymon Reifer chipped in with 37.
Once Gayle opened his shoulders from the second over of Jamaica’s reply, there was little doubt about the outcome and by the time he departed in the 14th over, Jamaica were in cruise mode.
He put on 75 off 31 balls for the first wicket with David Bernard whose 24 required just 22 balls and included two fours and two sixes.
When he lost Bernard in the seventh over, he combined with Nkrumah Bonner (28 not out) to put another 63 off 40 balls, in another fiery partnership.
Gayle was welcomed by a short ball from seamer Jason Holder off the first delivery of the innings and quietly negotiated the over, before moving into another gear.
The unfortunate bowler proved to be Derone Davis. Gayle cleared the long-on fence with the first ball of the second over by the left-arm spinner but waited until the bowler’s next over to really cut loose.