Sports Page — The Wanderers is home to what it calls the greatest ODI of all time – the 438 game – and now it is also home to what could become known as the most thrilling T20: the 236 game. West Indies pulled off the highest successful run chase in the shortest format, propelled by Chris Gayle’s 90 off 41 balls, held together by Marlon Samuels’ seventh T20 half-century and finished by Darren Sammy, who led his side to a series win with a game to spare.
South Africa could be forgiven for being shell-shocked. They would have thought their chances of squaring the series were strong after Faf du Plessis became the second South African to score a T20 hundred, helping them post their second-highest score in the format, and with the knowledge they had never lost a T20 defending a 180-plus score before.
There was one man who could change that and change it he did. Gayle scored his only international T20 century at the Wanderers – against South Africa in 2007 – and seemed set to bring up his second with a bruising batting performance. He could not quite repeat the feat but his team-mates ensured his efforts did not go to waste.
It began in the third over, after West Indies got off to the start they needed but lost Dwayne Smith, who drove down the wrong line to a full, straight, Marchant de Lange delivery. Gayle faced a situation he relished: his team needed quick runs and aggression, someone who was willing to take on the bowlers no matter where they landed the ball.
Luckily for Gayle, Kyle Abbott insisted on going full – perhaps after seeing what happened to West Indies’ bowlers, who erred by doing the opposite – and presented five full tosses in succession. Gayle let the first one go, took four fours off the rest and when Abbott held his length back to end the over, carted him over deep midwicket for six.
Twenty-two runs came off that over and it was the sign everything was going to go. The next three overs cost 46 as David Wiese and de Lange also searched for the yorker but ended up offering runs. West Indies scored the second-highest number of runs in the Power play, 86, and Samuels cashed in as well.
Summarized scores: West Indies 236 for 6 (Gayle 90, Wiese 3-43) beat South Africa 231 for 7 (Du Plessis 119, Bravo 2-32) by four wickets