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sampji3 by diwas1
Explosive opener Chris Gayle announced his return to international cricket after nearly five months with a stunning half-century but West Indies made a meal of their target before stumbling past South Africa by four wickets in the opening Twenty20 International of the three-match series on Friday.
The 35-year-old left-hander, who has been side-lined in recent months by injury, slammed the fastest half-century by a West Indies batsman en route to a top score of 77 off 31, an innings which allowed the Caribbean side to chase down their target of 166, with only four deliveries remaining at Newlands.
Gayle belted five fours and eight whopping sixes, raising his 12th T20 International half-century off a mere 17 balls to break Kieron Pollard’s record of the fastest fifty by a West Indies player which had come off 20 deliveries.
Marlon Samuels chipped in with 41 off 37 balls and Dwayne Smith made 20 in an up tempo opening stand of 78 off a mere 37 balls with Gayle, to lay the foundation for the Windies victory bid.
However, as has become the norm, the Caribbean side needed to inject the now obligatory drama, into what otherwise should have been a straightforward run chase, especially after Gayle’s fireworks paved the way.
Cruising at 147 for two in the 16th over, the Windies suddenly suffered an attack of nerves and lost four quick wickets for 17 runs in the space of 14 deliveries, to carry the game down to the last over.
Earlier, Rilee Rossouw pounded an unbeaten 51 off 40 balls to steer South Africa to 165 for four off their 20 overs, after they opted to bat first.