Chris Gayle’s swashbuckling century, including 11 sixes, gave West Indies a six-wicket win over England in their ICC World Twenty20 opener in Mumbai.
Here are five things we learned from the first of England’s four Super 10 games.
1. If you don’t get Gayle early, he will blow you away
So we start with something we all knew, but it bares repeating. Defending 182 for six, probably a below-par score at the Wankhede Stadium, England needed to dismiss Chris Gayle early in the reply.
Gayle surprisingly saw little of the strike in the powerplay, but offered no real chance while pacing his innings perfectly.
With just 22 runs to his name at the end of the eighth over, the powerful left-hander upped the ante with an eventual 11 sixes, giving him a record total of 98 Twenty20 international maximums in the process.
2. If Gayle doesn’t blow you away at the start, Samuels may
As always at the beginning of a West Indies innings featuring Gayle, much attention was on the powerful batsman nicknamed ‘World Boss’. Yet the early wicket of Johnson Charles brought another big hitter to the crease.
Marlon Samuels, who made a match-winning 78 when the Windies won the 2012 World T20 final, flayed 36 of 55 runs in the powerplay to set his side on their way.
3. England picked the in-form player
Previous England regimes have been criticised for selecting out-of-form players at the expense of in-form squad members. Current head coach Trevor Bayliss went with form in his only real selection poser against West Indies, choosing left-armer David Willey over fellow Yorkshire paceman Liam Plunkett.
Willey took a hat-trick in England’s last World T20 warm-up, albeit he was one of several England stars playing for a Mumbai XI versus Eoin Morgan’s side.
4. Flexibility is the key
England initially had Jos Buttler, one of their premier batsmen, at number six with Joe Root, Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes due to bat ahead of him in the middle order. However, with the second wicket falling at the start of the 12th over, Buttler was promoted to number four.
He cashed in with a sprightly 30 from 20 balls, including three sixes, on the ground where he will soon represent Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League. Had Buttler come in at six, England may not have posted as much as 182 for six.
5. Spin twins sing in harmony
Many experts, former England spinner Graeme Swann included, expected spin to be key for England at this tournament.
Their slow duo of Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali kept Morgan’s team in the match with relatively economical bowling and a wicket apiece.
Both were occasionally hammered by Gayle, but not many spinners haven’t received punishment from the batsman who now boasts more sixes than anyone else in World Twenty20s.