Chris Gayle bludgeoned his way into the history books by becoming the first player to score a double century in the cricket World Cup as the West Indies rode on his record-equalling 16 sixes to notch up a massive 73-run win via D/L method against Zimbabwe, today.
Gayle, who became the only non-Indian batsman after Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Rohit Sharma to score a double ton, smashed 215 off just 147 balls with the help of a staggering 16 sixes and 10 fours to help West Indies amass 373 for two after electing to bat first.
The destructive batsman was also involved in a record 372-run second-wicket partnership with centurion Marlon Samuels (133) before West Indies bowled out the Africans for 289 in 44.3 overs during their revised chase of 363 in 48 overs post a brief spell of rain.
Former South Africa opener Gary Kirsten held the previous individual record with a score of 188 against the same opponents at the 1996 edition in Rawalpindi, while the legendary retired Indian duo of Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid held the partnership record, which they scripted against New Zealand in 1999.
Gayle thus became the only player in world cricket to hit a triple hundred in Tests, double hundred in ODIs and a hundred in Twenty20 Internationals.
This was Gayle’s first century since June 2013, the ton coming off 105 balls after the two-time winners opted to bat at the Manuka Oval. He reached his double ton in 138 balls, hitting Tendai Chatara for a boundary.
While his first hundred was a workmanlike effort, the second was Gayle at his devastating best, getting there off a mere 33 balls.
Such was the onslaught that West Indies smashed the hapless Zimbabwe bowlers for 195 runs in the last 13 overs, 152 of them coming in the final 10.
Gayle fell short of the highest number of sixes by only one, tying it with Rohit and South African captain AB de Villiers.
Gayle was ably supported by Samuels, who scored 133 off 156 balls with the help of 11 fours and three sixes.
Gayle’s effort was also the highest ever individual score by a West Indian batsman, bettering Vivian Richards’ 189 against England way back in 1984.
The total gave West Indies a perfect platform to post their second win in the tournament and inch closer to a quarterfinal berth, after starting their campaign with a shock defeat against Ireland.