Discarded West Indies opener Chris Gayle sent the sternest of messages to his detractors by plundering a brilliant century to propel Jamaica to a convincing 134-run victory over Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) in their Regional Super50 Group B clash at Everest here.
Gayle, told earlier this week by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) that he would have to withdraw recent controversial comments or face exile from the regional side, responded with a stroke-filled 147 that lifted Jamaica to an imposing 259 for three from their allotted 37 overs Saturday.
Watched by a vociferous band of spectators who cheered every boundary struck by the talismanic left-hander, Gayle slammed 11 fours and eight sixes off 110 deliveries before he was dismissed off the penultimate ball of the innings.
He dominated a rollicking 174-run, third wicket partnership with out-of-favour Windies batsman Xavier Marshall, who offered support with an unbeaten 52 off 53 balls, decorated with three fours and two sixes.
The 32-year-old Gayle, who played 91 Tests and scored 6,373 runs at an average of 41.65 before running into problems with the WICB, was severe on the University students’ bowling attack after passing his half century.
He needed 65 balls for his first fifty, counting five fours and a six, but required just 33 more deliveries to race to triple figures.
The former Windies captain was particularly severe on fellow countryman and pacer Dawes whom he twice struck for back-to-back sixes in the 35th and 37th overs.
Despite being flayed to all parts of the ground, Dawes returned to claim his man, when Gayle picked out Nekoli Parris at deep extra cover. Dawes’s nine overs cost 104 runs.
In reply, CCC were rocked early by Santokie, losing Miles Bascombe and Nicholas Alexis without scoring, while captain Romel Currency made six before he was caught by Shawn Findlay off Santokie to leave the score on 10 for three in the seventh over.
Ryan Wiggins, who top scored with an unbeaten 52, added 47 with Parris (23) to restore some order to the CCC innings.
With the run rate climbing, Parris chanced his arm and was caught at extra cover off Brown, after hitting the previous ball through midwicket for four while Mayers made 13 before pushing one back to Brown.
Wiggins, who struck three fours off 84 deliveries, added an unbroken 45 for the sixth wicket with Smith who was unbeaten on 26, as CCC's challenge petered out.