West Indies opener Chris Gayle returned to his best form against Zimbabwe at Manuka Oval in Canberra yesterday to become the first batsmen in World Cup history to score a double century.
The West Indies lost a wicket in their first over when Darren Smith was bowled by Tinashe Panyangara and Gayle himself survived a big shout for LBW and a very close DRS decision after being struck on the pad on his first ball.
Gayle was clearly not in the best of touch in the first half of his innings and he had a number of streaky shots land just short of Zimbabwean fielders, but he slowly started to dominate the bowling and he brought up his century in the 35th over.
From this point Gayle stepped up the run rate significantly and it took him just an additional 10 overs to bring up the first double century scored by a non-Indian in the history of One Day Cricket and break the record for the highest score in World Cup history.
While Gayle was going ballistic, partner Marlon Samuels contributed impressively at the other end and the 372-run partnership shared by the West Indian duo broke the record for the highest partnership in One Day International Cricket.
Zimbabwe were set a most impressive total of 372 runs after dismissing Gayle on the final ball of the innings and their total was decreased to 363 runs from 48 overs after a shower stopped briefly stopped the game.
The Zimbabweans started slowly and were reduced to 3-46 after 8 overs, but thanks to some composed batting from Brendan Taylor (37), Sean Williams (76) and Craig Ervine (52) they were able to get their innings back on track.
However, they were always well short of the run rate required and an impressive spelling of bowling from Jerome Taylor (3-38) ended any chance of a Zimbabwe win and they were bowled out for 289 in the 45th over.
The West Indies started their 2015 World Cup campaign with a shock loss against Ireland, but have now bounced back with two impressive wins against Pakistan and Zimbabwe and are back on track to quality for the quarter finals.
They have the chance to continue their winning streak when they take on South Africa at the SCG on Friday, while Zimbabwe will return to action against Pakistan at The Gabba on Sunday.
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