Gayle and Pollard destroy Black Caps
Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard powered West Indies to a comprehensive 56-run victory in the first of the two Twenty20 internationals against New Zealand at Lauderhill in Florida.
Man of the match Gayle clubbed an unbeaten 85 off 52 balls while Pollard was similarly destructive with 63 not out off 29 deliveries as the Windies posted a mammoth 209 for two.
The duo shared in an unbroken stand of 108 off just 43 balls to help their side record their highest ever T20 score.
Spinner Sunil Narine took 3-34 as New Zealand were dismissed for 153 in reply, with captain Ross Taylor retiring hurt after making 10 and Ronnie Hura unable to bat through injury.
The Blacks Caps opted to send their opponents in, and that decision immediately began to look questionable as Windies opener Dwayne Smith hit Nathan McCullum for two sixes in the first over.
Gayle was circumspect at the start of his innings, being outscored by both Smith, who made 17, and Johnson Charles early on. However, the left-hander gradually begin to flex his muscles and he hit his first maximum of the match in the 13th over off Rob Nicol.
It was not until the arrival of Pollard that Gayle really started motoring, though, with both players blasting the New Zealand attack to all parts in a devastating stand.
Pollard came to the crease after Charles, on 24, was dismissed off the first ball of the 14th over and the giant all-rounder wasted no time in making his presence felt.
He smashed his first and third deliveries for six, and then struck another maximum in the next over off Nicol.
The boundaries continued to flow from both batsman in the closing overs and in the end Pollard finished with five sixes and as many fours, while Gayle contributed five maximums and seven fours as the Windies passed their previous T20 best of 208 for eight against England in 2007.
New Zealand made a promising start to their run chase as Nicol and Martin Guptill put on 38 for the first wicket at almost 10 an over.
They could not keep up that scoring rate though and, despite Nicol, Jacob Oram and Tim Southee making 32, 27 and 23, they fell well short in the end, not helped by the loss of Taylor and Hira, who will both miss tomorrow’s second T20.