Gayle blows Ireland away
Captain Chris Gayle fired West Indies to a crushing nine-wicket victory over minnows Ireland in their World Twenty20 warm-up clash at The Oval.
Gayle struck seven sixes in an unbeaten 88 as West Indies comfortably surpassed Ireland’s 130 for seven.
They raced to their target with four overs to spare after left-hander Gayle unleashed his explosive strokeplay.
West Indies had made 77 for one by the halfway stage of their chase, of which Gayle contributed 50, and his savage assault during off-spinner Kyle McCallan’s third over yielded two sixes.
Two more came in the 16th over, sent down by medium-pacer John Mooney, as Ireland’s back-up bowlers took a pounding.
Ireland’s solitary success with the ball came in the eighth over when youngster Andre Fletcher, who impressed with his sheer power, miscued an expansive stroke and was caught at point off McCallan’s second ball.
Earlier, West Indies restricted Ireland to just over a run a ball. A lack of batting firepower was exposed by Gayle’s team, who endured a torrid time against England earlier this summer in both Test and one-day cricket.
Ireland, who defeated Holland in a super-over eliminator at Lord’s yesterday, failed to make the most of the powerplay period.
A position of 36 for one at the end of the fielding restrictions severely dented their hopes of a challenging total on a traditionally fast-scoring ground.
Northamptonshire’s Niall O’Brien attempted to be the top-order aggressor and was just getting into his stride when he picked out midwicket with a pull off Dwayne Bravo.
Ireland particularly struggled against the sheer pace of Fidel Edwards, who followed up his good recent form in the second season of the Indian Premier League with figures of 3-0-13-1.
For Gayle, whose innings spanned just 56 deliveries, it was a change to be reflecting on success after their recent drubbing by England.
“It is good to get wins under our belts,” he admitted. “People may say it is against a weaker opponent but that does not matter - if they beat us it would be a different story.
“It has been a fresh start for us, it is a different format of the game and we have had a couple of new faces in our dressing room.
“We have some advantage of being here for such a long time and we have to try to put those negatives of the England series behind us and focus on what is ahead.”
Ireland captain Will Porterfield added: “It's not easy when you are defending 130, and when a player like him gets going it is difficult to stop. It shows us what we will be up against over the next week.”