Tuesday 11 September 2007 

Gayle Force Not Enough For West Indies

South Africa 206-2 (Gibbs 90no)
West Indies 205-6 (Gayle 117, Van Der Wath 2-33)
South Africa won by eight wickets

Chris Gayle hit a spellbinding 117 from 57 balls, but it wasn't enough as South Africa opened the Twenty20 World Cup with an eight-wicket win in Johannesburg.

Opting to field first, the South Africans were soon on the end of a blistering assault from Gayle, who hit seven fours and ten sixes in a record partnership worth 145 with Devon Smith (35) before the South African bowlers hit back. Crucially, no other West Indian batsmen could stay with Gayle, who became the first man to register a Twenty20 Internationa century, and their score, at one point looking set to pass 220, petered out into an impressive, but not impregnable 205 for 6.

South Africa struggled early on, with Graeme Smith copping a painful blow on the hand and looking unlikely to continue. A tight opening burst from Daren Powell and Ravi Rampaul limited the Proteas before Smith, opening with Herschelle Gibbs, finally cut loose as the bowlers lost discipline.

Smith (28) and De Villiers (16) perished but by then Gibbs was into his stride. He was batting with a runner, but with fourteen fours and two sixes, there wasn't much running going on. However, he and Justin Kemp (46 not out) were greatly aided by the West Indians, who conceded 28 extras and dropped three catches.

Gibbs sealed the game with a six and two fours from Dwayne Bravo, victory coming with 2.2 overs to spare.

John Pennington
© Cricket Word 2007

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