BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Superstar Chris Gayle fittingly lowered the curtain on his domestic 50-overs career with an audacious hundred as Jamaica Scorpions brushed aside Barbados Pride by 33 runs in their Group B clash of the Regional Super50 here yesterday.
Playing at Kensington Oval in his 356th List A match, the 39-year-old plundered 122 off 114 deliveries as Scorpions were dismissed for 226 in the 48th over.
Andre McCarthy chipped in with 48 from 49 balls but Scorpions declined following his departure, losing their last eight wickets for 74 runs.
Gayle held the innings together, hammering 10 fours and eight sixes to mark his 27th triple figure score in the shorter form of the game.
In reply, Pride slipped from 93 for two to 193 all out in the 48th over, losing their last eight wickets for exactly 100 runs, to remain win-less in two matches following their rained-out opener against Leeward Islands Hurricanes last Thursday.
Left-hander Jonathan Carter impressed with a responsible 77 while captain Shamarh Brooks got 26 but no other front-line batsman passed 15.
Fast bowler Oshane Thomas picked up three for 53 while left-arm spinners Nikita Miller (2-23) and Christopher Lamont (2-45), along with pacer Gordon Bryan (2-28) all claimed two wickets each.
While the victory was Jamaica’s second and left them top of the standings, the real story surrounded veteran Gayle who could not have asked for a better finale, which included two catches and a wicket from a 10-over spell costing 31 runs.
Given a guard of honour by both teams at the start of the innings, Gayle put aside the sentimentality to pull Scorpions out of trouble after fast bowler Miguel Cummins accounted for opener Chadwick Walton (5) and Jermaine Blackwood (2) cheaply with just 21 on the board in the sixth over.
He partnered with McCarthy in an entertaining third wicket stand of 131 off 110 deliveries which powered Scorpions to 152 for two in the 24th over.
Pride were running out of answers when seamer Kevin Stoute (3-33) broke the stand, removing McCarthy after the batsman had struck seven fours.
Gayle carried the innings, however, taking a special liking to Ashley Nurse (2-49) who he blasted for two sixes in the 18th over and another three consecutively in the 20th over.
The West Indies star was eventually sixth out in the 35th over with wickets tumbling around him, falling to 20-year-old seamer Shamar Springer who ended with two for 35 from an excellent 10-over spell.
Pride also suffered two setbacks at the start of their innings when Lamont removed both openers Shayne Moseley (10) and Leniko Boucher (9) with 32 on the board in the seventh over.
Carter and Brooks then came together in a 61-run, third wicket partnership to consolidate the innings and deny Scorpions any further immediate breakthroughs.
However, it was Gayle who eventually struck, gaining an lbw decision against Brooks in the 21st over and his dismissal saw Pride’s run chase unravel as wickets fell steadily.
Carter, who faced 125 balls and struck four boundaries, was ninth out in the 48th over with Scorpions already all but secure.